Ali Montazeri*, David J Hole, Robert Milroy, James McEwen and Charles R Gillis
Corresponding author: Ali Montazeri email@example.com
BMC Cancer 2004, 4:21 doi:10.1186/1471-2407-4-21
(2012-04-30 18:01) Iranian Institute for Health Sciences Research, ACECR
To understand what we are saying in this paper I refer the readers to a chapter (Chapter
33) in a new edition of the 'New Challenges in Communication with Cancer Patients'
edited by Surbone et al. from Springer, 2012.
(2004-06-18 11:16) Leukaemia Research Fund - posted in a private capacity
The data presented by Montazeri et al are very valuable in indicating the impact of
knowledge or ignorance of a cancer diagnosis. A caveat on their generalisability is
that the study was carried out in a largely symptomatic population - 75-80% of patients
in the study were symptomatic. Lung cancer, even treated in centres of excellence,
continues to have low five-year survival - it is unclear from the paper whether patients
who knew their diagnosis also knew their prognosis.
It would be of great interest, and possibly more important in at least some respects,
to establish the impact of a cancer diagnosis in the increasingly common context of
patients with indolent haematological neoplasms, asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic
at time of diagnosis and who have a long life-expectancy. In this group it is conceivable
that attachment of the label cancer to their illness may have a significantly greater
impact on their quality of life and perceived well-being. Additionally, they face
the problem in many cases of living with a diagnosis of cancer but a management plan
of "watch and wait". Their prolonged survival means that they must live with the knowledge
of their diagnosis for many years, even for decades.
No conflicting interests exist.
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