Why Many Cancer Patients Don't Have an Answer to the Question, 'How Long Have I Got?'

Dr. Toby Campbell

An article in USA Today about mis-communication between oncologists and patients about end-of-life care quoted Toby Campbell, MD, MSci, associate professor (CHS), Hematology, Medical Oncology and Palliative Care and the Ellen and Peter O. Johnson Chair in Palliative Care. 

Dr. Campbell described work his team has conducted to analyze communication patterns between providers and patients about survival estimates. The study, in which researchers listened to 128 audio recordings of oncologists and patients, found that oncologists devoted less than 10 percent of their time talking about patients' prognosis.

Researchers also found that doctors in the study over-used medical terms that patients may not understand, said Dr. Campbell.