Relationship between Consulting for Second Medical Opinions, Radiotherapy, and Satisfaction with Therapy, Analyzed by Structural Equation Modeling: A Web-Based Survey

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Radiology, MD, the University of Tokyo Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.

2 Graduate Schools for Law and Politics, MA, the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.

3 Department of Radiology, MD, PhD, the University of Tokyo Hospital, Tokyo, Japan.

4 Department of Comprehensive radiation oncology, MD, PhD, the University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Objective: The radiotherapy utilization rate in Japan is lower than that in other developed countries. This study identified factors associated with the low rate, by conducting an online survey of Japanese cancer survivors. Methods: We reviewed the web survey results of Japanese cancer patients. The survey examined the process of choosing treatments and the actual treatment received. We included respondents whose most engaged-in treatment was either radiotherapy or surgery, dividing them into two groups. We used the chi-square test to compare the patients in the both groups for their impression of the therapy, decision-making approach, and decision to seek second medical opinions (SMOs). To assess the relationship between seeking SMOs, being most engaged in radiotherapy, and feeling satisfied, we used the structural equation modeling (SEM) approach. Results: We included 139 patients in the radiotherapy group and 681 patients in the surgery group. Compared with patients in the surgery group, more patients in the radiotherapy group sought SMOs (19% vs. 28%), shared opinions with their doctor (27% vs. 42%), and were satisfied with their treatment (69% vs. 78%). SEM analysis showed that seeking SMOs contributed to radiotherapy being the most-engaged-in therapy (β = 0.23; P < 0.01), and the treatment contributed to the satisfaction (β = 0.15; P < 0.01). Conclusion: Patients who underwent radiotherapy felt more satisfied with the treatment than patients who underwent surgery. Perceptions about radiotherapy and SMOs may be a reason for the low utilization of radiotherapy in Japan.


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