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Publication Abstract

Authors: Arora NK, Jensen RE, Sulayman N, Hamilton AS, Potosky AL

Title: Patient-physician communication about health-related quality-of-life problems: are non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivors willing to talk?

Journal: J Clin Oncol 31(31):3964-70

Date: 2013 Nov 01

Abstract: PURPOSE: To investigate non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) survivors' willingness to discuss health-related quality-of-life (HRQOL) problems with their follow-up care physician. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Willingness to discuss HRQOL problems (physical, daily, emotional, social, and sexual functioning) was examined among 374 NHL survivors, 2 to 5 years postdiagnosis. Survivors were asked if they would bring up HRQOL problems with their physician and indicate reasons why not. Logistic regression models examined the association of patient sociodemographics, clinical characteristics, follow-up care variables, and current HRQOL scores with willingness to discuss HRQOL problems. RESULTS: Overall, 94%, 82%, 76%, 43%, and 49% of survivors would initiate discussions of physical, daily, emotional, social, and sexual functioning, respectively. Survivors who indicated their physician "always" spent enough time with them or rated their care as "excellent" were more willing to discuss HRQOL problems (P < .05). Survivors reporting poorer physical health were less willing to discuss their daily functioning problems (P < .001). Men were more willing to discuss sexual problems than women (P < .001). One in three survivors cited "nothing can be done" as a reason for not discussing daily functioning problems, and at least one in four cited "this was not their doctor's job" and a preference to "talk to another clinician" as reasons for not discussing emotional, social, and sexual functioning. CONCLUSION: NHL survivors' willingness to raise HRQOL problems with their physician varied by HRQOL domain. For some domains, even when survivors were experiencing problems, they may not discuss them. To deliver cancer care for the whole patient, interventions that facilitate survivor-clinician communication about survivors' HRQOL are needed.

Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013