Truth-telling in Oncology: Egyptian Patients’ Attitudes and Preferences

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Biostatistics, National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt.

2 Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.


Objective: Truth-telling in oncology is a major challenge, particularly in the absence of disclosure protocols in Egypt and the lack of Egyptian studies examining patients’ preferences regarding cancer disclosure. This study aimed to reveal the preferences of patients seeking care at the National Cancer Institute – Cairo University regarding disclosing cancer diagnosis and the type and amount of information to be told. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 200 patients selected consecutively from those attending the outpatient clinics of the National Cancer Institute – Cairo University. Face-to-face interviews were performed with the patients according to a structured questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of five parts: socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge about cancer disease, attitudes towards cancer disease, experience during the disclosure of the diagnosis, and preferences regarding disclosure of cancer diagnosis. Results: Most patients (89.5%) preferred to know the diagnosis. Of them, 94.4% wished to know from the physician. No agreement was found between most patients’ preferences and physicians’ practice. On multivariate logistic regression analysis, patients’ education was the only significant predictor of the preference to know the diagnosis (OR = 5.298, 95% CI = 1.258 - 22.301, P = 0.023). Conclusion: Patients have a great desire to know the diagnosis and other information related to treatment and prognosis.


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