HealthDay News — A considerable proportion of survivors of thyroid cancer report inadequate pretreatment understanding, according to a study published online in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Amanda Silver Karcioglu, MD, from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues administered a cross-sectional survey to members of the ThyCa: Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association Inc. and to individuals accessing the ThyCa website. Data were included for 1412 survey respondents.

The researchers found that 89.2% of respondents provided free-text responses to the question regarding what they would tell someone newly diagnosed with the same condition. Of these, 37.2% and 40.9%, respectively, reported inadequate pretreatment plan understanding and that their treatment experience did not meet their expectations. Only 18.1% of respondents reporting inadequate pretreatment plan understanding had their treatment expectations met. There was an independent association observed between self-reported failure to have an understanding of treatment with failure of treatment to meet expectations in a multivariate analysis (odds ratio, 5.1). The likelihood of indicating that the initial treatment experience was on par with expectations was more than fivefold more likely for patients reporting a full understanding of their treatment plan, independent of multiple confounders.


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“Patient understanding of treatment is independently associated with treatment meeting expectations, which in turn has been shown in other research to affect postoperative patient-reported health-related quality of life,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

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