Previous studies on the effect of doctor-patient communication on the quality of life of rectal cancer patients have either used short follow-up periods or examined only certain aspects of quality of life, such as anxiety and depression.
Dr Jacqueline Kerr and colleagues conducted a comprehensive study of the effect of communication on quality of life of rectal cancer patients over a 4-year period.
Patients with rectal cancer completed questionnaires over the 4-year period. Results of these questionnaires were evaluated alongside clinical information on the patients.
39% of patients reported that some aspect of the communication they received was unclear. More than 60% wished to speak to there physician more than they were able to.
Younger patients and those in larger hospitals were more likely to report unclear communication.
Emotional and social functioning scores were consistently lower in patients reporting poor communication with their doctors.
These patients also experienced more problems sleeping, poorer body image, more financial worries, and a worse future perspective.
Emotional, social and sleeping difficulties persisted for at least 3 years.
| More than 60% of patients wanted to speak to their doctors more|
|Diseases of the Colon and Rectum|
Dr Kerr concludes “Reports of unclear communication were associated with poorer quality of life in rectal cancer patients regardless of disease progression”.