Send to

Choose Destination
Gynecol Oncol. 2012 Mar;124(3):471-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.09.029. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

A survey of gynecologic oncologists regarding the end-of-life discussion: a pilot study.

Author information

Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.



To identify the practices and attitudes of gynecologic oncologists regarding the end-of-life discussion.


A pilot survey was sent to 1105 members of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists (SGO). The survey consisted of 20 questions and was sent via the website Survey Monkey.


Response rate was 12.8%. Sixty percent of respondents were male, most ranged between 30 and 60 years of age and more than half performed 5-10 major surgeries per week. More than half of respondents (53.9%) deferred the End of Life discussion until the patient had sustained a major change in functional and/or medical status. Thirty percent initiated it at the first recurrence or progression of disease. Forty three percent of respondents characterized the discussion as an on-going process. Patients' age, social support, health insurance, and co-morbidities had no influence on the discussion, and neither did the tumor's site of origin or grade. More respondents initiated the discussion in advanced stage cancer (57%) and after salvage chemotherapy institution (54%). Forty four percent of respondents reported that "understanding and acceptance" was the initial response by patient when counseled about withdrawal of care. This increased to 86% when the issue was revisited. Confusion or reluctance to discuss the subject were initially reported to be 12% and 19%, respectively, but decreased to 2% and 3%, respectively, when withdrawal of care was subsequently addressed with the patient.


This pilot survey sheds a light on attitudes and practices about the end-of-life discussion that deserve to be further studied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center