Importance of quality-of-life priorities and preferences surrounding treatment decision making in patients with cancer and oncology clinicians

Academic Article


  • Background: Shared decision-making (SDM) occurs when a patient partners with their oncologist to integrate personal preferences and values into treatment decisions. A key component of SDM is the elicitation of patient preferences and values, yet little is known about how and when these are elicited, communicated, prioritized, and documented within clinical encounters. Methods: This cross-sectional study evaluated nationwide data collected by CancerCare to better understand current patterns of SDM between patients and their oncology clinicians. Patient surveys included questions about the importance of quality-of-life preferences and discussions regarding quality-of-life priorities with their clinicians. Clinician surveys included questions about the discussion of quality-of-life priorities and preferences with patients, the effect of quality-of-life priorities on treatment recommendations, and quality-of-life priority documentation in practice. Results: Patient survey completers (n = 320; 33% response rate) were predominantly women (95%), had a diagnosis of breast cancer (59%), or were receiving active cancer treatment (59%). Clinician survey completers (n = 112; 5% response rate) predominately identified as hematologists or oncologists (66%). Although 67% of clinicians reported knowing their patients' personal quality-of-life priorities and preferences before finalizing treatment plans, only 37% of patients reported that these discussions occurred before treatment initiation. Most patients (95%) considered out-of-pocket expenses important during treatment planning, yet only 59% reported discussing out-of-pocket expenses with their clinician before finalizing treatment plans. A majority of clinicians (52%) considered clinic questionnaires as feasible to document quality-of-life priorities and preferences. Conclusions: Patients and clinicians reported that preferences related to quality-of-life should be considered in treatment decision making, yet barriers to SDM, preference elicitation, and documentation remain.
  • Published In

  • Cancer  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Williams CP; Miller-Sonet E; Nipp RD; Kamal AH; Love S; Rocque GB
  • Start Page

  • 3534
  • End Page

  • 3541
  • Volume

  • 126
  • Issue

  • 15