Diagnosis disclosure in a Portuguese oncological centre

Gonçalves, J.F.; Castro, S.
January 2001
Palliative Medicine;Jan2001, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p35
Academic Journal
The disclosure of a diagnosis of cancer to patients is a controversial matter. There have been major differences in practice concerning this issue through time and between cultures. A questionnaire was sent to the doctors of the Oporto Centre of the Portuguese Institute of Oncology in order to assess their attitudes. We received 45 responses (40%) from the 113 questionnaires sent. Of these, 32 (71%) said that they disclose the diagnosis as a general policy or at the patients' request, and 13 (29%) disclose it rarely or not at all. The most frequent reason indicated by these 13 physicians was that the disclosure might damage the patients psychologically. Forty-four (98%) doctors inform the family of the diagnosis. Thirty-nine (87%) think that patients are satisfied with the information provided. This study was carried out in one oncological centre only, so it is inappropriate to conclude that this is what happens throughout Portugal. As far as we know, this is the first study in Portugal addressing this area of practice. This subject is a very important topic of research both in Portugal and in other countries, as many published recommendations are not research based.


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