Attitudes of gastroenterologists regarding delivery of cancer diagnoses: A cross-sectional study

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Am J Gastroenterol


Introduction: Gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons 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, their willingness to seek treatment, and their relationship with their medical provider. No study to date has reported how patients receive a cancer diagnosis from gastroenterologists. The purpose of our study is to determine the attitudes and practices of Gastroenterologists regarding the delivery of cancer diagnoses. Methods: 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, most respondents were male (n = 205, 73.21%), in practice between 0 and 9 years (n = 133, 47.50%), at the attending/faculty level (n = 69.53%, 194) or a fellow in training (n = 71, 25.45%), and practiced in the academic setting (n = 124, 44.13%). 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 in person discussion (n = 187, 71.65%), phone call (n = 52, 19.92%), and a family discussion (n = 19, 7.28%). Most respondents were not familiar with any guidelines for delivering cancer diagnoses (n = 202, 75.94%), had not received training on delivering a cancer diagnosis to a patient (n = 151, 56.34%), and would be open to receiving training on cancer diagnosis delivery (n = 207, 78.11%). The most preferred method of training was modules (n = 147, 55.26%) and in-person training (n = 67, 25.19%). Conclusion: The majority of gastroenterologists take personal responsibility in the delivery of cancer diagnoses. Most 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 gastroenterology fellows and a potential gap that may be filled through the use of various educational materials..

PubMed ID

Not assigned.





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