Attitudes of Gastroenterologists Regarding Delivery of Cancer Diagnoses: a Cross-Sectional Study

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J Gastrointest Cancer


GOALS: To determine the attitudes and practices of gastroenterologists regarding the delivery of cancer diagnoses.

BACKGROUND: Gastroenterologists frequently diagnose colorectal cancer. Receiving the news of a cancer diagnosis is difficult, and the delivery of the diagnosis can influence a patient's understanding of their disease. No study to date has reported how gastroenterologists deliver cancer diagnoses to their patients.

STUDY: An anonymous questionnaire was sent online to gastroenterologists of the American College of Gastroenterology to assess views regarding the delivery of cancer diagnoses.

RESULTS: Of the 280 complete responses (response rate = 1.64%), most respondents were male (n = 205, 73.21%), in practice between 0 and 9 years (n = 133, 47.50%), and at the attending/faculty level (n = 69.53%, 194). Most responded that they would disclose a cancer diagnosis to the patient themselves if they had made the discovery on endoscopy/colonoscopy (n = 255, 94.80%), with the preferred methods being an in person discussion (n = 187, 71.65%). Most respondents were not familiar with any guidelines for delivering cancer diagnoses (n = 202, 75.94%) and would be open to receiving training on cancer diagnosis delivery (n = 207, 78.11%).

CONCLUSIONS: Most gastroenterologists take personal responsibility in the delivery of cancer diagnoses. Many gastroenterologists receive no specific training on how to deliver this news and are unaware of any guidelines to follow that may be helpful in their practice. However, most displayed a willingness to learn these guidelines through some form of formal education. Future directions should consider the incorporation of education in cancer diagnosis delivery for gastroenterologists and gastroenterology fellows.

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ePub ahead of print