British researchers found that the first impression doctors and nurses leave to cancer patients during diagnosis phase has long-lasting consequences over the course of treatment.
The latest study shows that cancer patients tend to trust less their health care providers if the diagnosis is too lengthy, not properly done, or medical professionals tend to hide information from them.
According to the research, 25 percent of cancer patients lost faith in doctors and ward nurses if their initial diagnosis required more than three visits at their GP’s office before they were allowed to undergo diagnosis tests.
The joint group of researchers from the University of Cambridge and University College London learned that many cancer patients are either dissatisfied with or tend to distrust hospital staffers that treat them after the diagnosis.
The study involved more than 70,000 cancer patients. Of those, about 60,000 learned that they had cancer from their GP, but more than 13,000 reported that they had to come at their GP’s office at least thrice before they were granted approval to cancer tests.
Yet, so many visits to their GPs and a slow diagnosis process shattered many patients confidence in medical staffers that were supposed to treat them. Researchers found that one in five cancer patients didn’t like the way hospital staff told them they had cancer. About 40 percent reported dissatisfaction over their relationship with their GP and other medical staffers during diagnosis phase.
More than 10 percent of cancer patients complained that staffers intentionally hid valuable information from them during treatment, while more than 30 percent said that they didn’t trust their ward nurses.
“This research shows that first impressions go a long way in determining how cancer patients view their experience of cancer treatment,”
noted Dr Georgios Lyratzopoulos of the University College London and co-author of the study.
Dr. Lyratzopoulos explained that “negative experiences” during diagnosis phase can lead to a loss of trust in medical staffers throughout the entire “cancer journey.” Researchers also explained that diagnosis sometimes requires more time and several visits to the GP because some forms of cancer are very elusive or mimic the symptoms of other illnesses.
The delays in diagnosis can also be attributed to inaccurate diagnosis tests, along with doctors’ lack of experience. The research team said that new diagnosis tools may considerably cut wait time before a GP decides to refer a patient to cancer tests.
Usually, health officials recommend that doctors refer patients to cancer tests in less than 2 days if that patient displays unexplained fatigue or bruises.
Image Source: WebMD
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