Doctors must explain impact of cancer treatments: patients

People suffering from cancer are not given enough information about how their treatment will impact their daily lives in the long term, a survey by the Dutch federation of cancer patient organisations NFK has found.

Over a third of the 3,785 (ex) cancer patients polled said doctors failed to discuss any problems that may occur as a result of the treatment, which often include tiredness, concentration and memory loss and diminished sexual functioning.

Half of the patients said there had been no discussion about what their future plans were or what they considered important for their quality of life.




According to the federation, people with cancer have little time to decide on the kind of treatment they want even though it can have major repercussions on how they live their lives, both in the short and the long term, the NFK said.

Eight out of 10 patients said they wanted the treatment to be a joint decision, which is why the NFK wants to introduce a procedure called ‘Samen beslissen (decide together) in which doctor and patient discuss the pros and cons of a treatment.

According to the NFK, medical professionals must explain clearly what the medical options for the patient mean for the patient’s ability to have sex, work and have social activities.


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