Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Oncologists’ Perceptions of Recurrent Ovarian Cancer Patients’ Preference for Participation in Treatment Decision Making and Strategies for When and How to Involve Patients in This Process
  1. Laurie Elit, MD, MSc, FRCS(C)*,,
  2. Cathy A. Charles, PhD, and
  3. Amiram Gafni, PhD,
  1. *Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology and
  2. Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and
  3. Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Laurie Elit, MD, MSc, FRCS(C), Juravinski Cancer Centre, 699 Concession St, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8V 5C2. E-mail: elitlor{at}


Objectives The treatment decision-making (TDM) process in the medical encounter in ovarian cancer (OC) is directed by oncologists. There is little information on oncologists’ perceptions of this process. Our objectives were to explore oncologists’ perceptions concerning (1) patients’ preference for involvement in TDM, (2) factors that affect when to introduce this discussion, and (3) strategies used for engaging women in TDM.

Methods We adopted a qualitative descriptive approach. Individual in-person interviews were used to collect data; themes were identified.

Results Fifteen gynecologic and 5 medical oncologists from Ontario, Canada, participated. We found that oncologists made the assumption that women with recurrent OC were interested in being involved in TDM but rarely reported attempting to validate this assumption. The oncologists timed the initiation of the TDM discussion based on their degree of certainty of recurrent OC and their perception of the patient’s readiness to be involved in TDM. Oncologists reported using strategies to engage women such as getting the women to take ownership of the decision, verbalize their priorities, lead the discussions, and giving the opportunity to gather information.

Conclusions Oncologists need to listen to each patient rather than make assumptions about the person based on her disease.

  • Qualitative research
  • Recurrent ovarian cancer
  • Treatment decision making

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • This work was made possible through a grant from the Juravinski Cancer Centre Foundation.

  • The authors declare no conflicts of interest.