The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Patients want doctors to tell more

London, Feb. 25 (Reuters): Doctors need to improve their communication skills because patients say the information they are given when diagnosed with cancer is incomplete or incomprehensible, according to a poll released today.

Forty-five per cent of women with breast cancer who were questioned for a German study said they were unclear about what they had been told during the consultation and nearly 60 per cent wanted to speak to other medical staff.

“Almost half reported that they weren’t satisfied with the communication,” Jacqueline Kerr, an epidemiologist at the Munich Cancer Registry at Ludwig Maximilians University, Germany said.

Kerr said doctors may have given patients the right information but either they were not good enough at communicating it or the patients were stressed and could not comprehend what they had been told.

Whatever the reason, patients were left with questions about their illness and were unaware of self-help groups which could have an impact on their quality of life. Although the study concerned German patients, Kerr said it is a worldwide problem.

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