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J Clin Oncol. 2015 Nov 10;33(32):3809-16. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2015.61.9239. Epub 2015 Oct 5.

Outcomes of Prognostic Disclosure: Associations With Prognostic Understanding, Distress, and Relationship With Physician Among Patients With Advanced Cancer.

Author information

1
Andrea C. Enzinger and Deborah Schrag, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; and Baohui Zhang and Holly G. Prigerson, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY.
2
Andrea C. Enzinger and Deborah Schrag, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; and Baohui Zhang and Holly G. Prigerson, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY. hgp2001@med.cornell.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To determine how prognostic conversations influence perceptions of life expectancy (LE), distress, and the patient-physician relationship among patients with advanced cancer.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

This was a multicenter observational study of 590 patients with metastatic solid malignancies with progressive disease after ≥ one line of palliative chemotherapy, undergoing follow-up to death. At baseline, patients were asked whether their oncologist had disclosed an estimate of prognosis. Patients also estimated their own LE and completed assessments of the patient-physician relationship, distress, advance directives, and end-of-life care preferences.

RESULTS:

Among this cohort of 590 patients with advanced cancer (median survival, 5.4 months), 71% wanted to be told their LE, but only 17.6% recalled a prognostic disclosure by their physician. Among the 299 (51%) of 590 patients willing to estimate their LE, those who recalled prognostic disclosure offered more realistic estimates as compared with patients who did not (median, 12 months; interquartile range, 6 to 36 months v 48 months; interquartile range, 12 to 180 months; P < .001), and their estimates were less likely to differ from their actual survival by > 2 (30.2% v 49.2%; odds ratio [OR], 0.45; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.82) or 5 years (9.5% v 35.5%; OR, 0.19; 95% CI, 0.08 to 0.47). In adjusted analyses, recall of prognostic disclosure was associated with a 17.2-month decrease (95% CI, 6.2 to 28.2 months) in patients' LE self-estimates. Longer LE self-estimates were associated with lower likelihood of do-not-resuscitate order (adjusted OR, 0.439; 95% CI, 0.296 to 0.630 per 12-month increase in estimate) and preference for life-prolonging over comfort-oriented care (adjusted OR, 1.493; 95% CI, 1.091 to 1.939). Prognostic disclosure was not associated with worse patient-physician relationship ratings, sadness, or anxiety in adjusted analyses.

CONCLUSION:

Prognostic disclosures are associated with more realistic patient expectations of LE, without decrements to their emotional well-being or the patient-physician relationship.

PMID:
26438121
PMCID:
PMC4737862
DOI:
10.1200/JCO.2015.61.9239
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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