Information In Practice

Cross sectional survey of patients' satisfaction with information about cancer

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 06 November 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1247
  1. Ray Jones, senior lecturer in health informatics (,
  2. Janne Pearson, research assistanta,
  3. Sandra McGregor, research assistanta,
  4. W Harper Gilmour, senior lecturer in medical statisticsa,
  5. Jacqueline M Atkinson, senior lecturer in behavioural sciencesa,
  6. Ann Barrett, professor of radiation oncologyb,
  7. Alison J Cawsey, lecturer in computer sciencec,
  8. Jim McEwen, professor of public healtha
  1. a Department of Public Health, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RZ
  2. b Beatson Oncology Centre, Western Infirmary, Glasgow G11 6NT
  3. c Department of Computer Science, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh EH14 4AS
  1. Correspondence to: R Jones
  • Accepted 11 October 1999

Most patients with cancer want as much information as possible appropriate to their personal needs and circumstances. 1 2 We surveyed the views of cancer patients entering a randomised trial of computer based information.3 We examined their need for information and their satisfaction with information received and how these varied with their demographic, social, and psychological characteristics.

Patients, methods, and results

Eligible patients were those planned to receive radical radiotherapy, who knew their diagnosis, were without visual or mental handicap, and were without severe pain or symptoms causing distress. Of 715 patients asked to take part, 190 refused, 25 stating they did not want more information. Of the 525 participants, 309 had breast cancer, 129 had prostate cancer, 22 had cervical cancer, and 65 had laryngeal cancer.

Data were collected at the recruitment interview, from a questionnaire the patients completed at home shortly after, and from their case notes Data included the information patients would like,2 a hospital anxiety and depression scale,4 the newspaper patients read, and deprivation category (derived from postcode).5 Using χ2 tests and multiple logistic regression analysis, we compared the patients' sources and perceived quantity of information received and their satisfaction with this information, as binary variables, with their age, sex, cancer site, newspaper …

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