Document Type: Middle East Special Report

Author

Department of Internal Medicine and Oncology, College of Medicine, University of Dammam, King Fahd University Hospital, Al-Khobar, Eastern Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Abstract

Background: The aim of this study was to explore Saudi cancer patients' views regarding cancer information disclosure and whether differences existed between regions or gender.Methods: In this cross-sectional questionnaire-based prospective survey, we interviewed 332 Saudi cancer patients who received oncological care at King Fahd University Hospital, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia from July 2002 to July 2009 to explore their attitudes regarding disclosure of cancer information.Results: The vast majority of Saudi cancer patients wanted to know the diagnosis of cancer (98%) and only 2% wanted the information to remain undisclosed. Seventy percent of the women wanted family members to know compared to only 39% of the men (P<0.001). Only 10% of the patients wanted their friends to know. In this study, 99% and 98%, respectively, wanted to know about the benefits of therapy and about their diagnosis of cancer. Of both genders, 98% also wanted to know the side effects of therapy and the prognosis. The attitudes of Saudi men and women with cancer were almost identical apart from sharing information with their family members. 99% of eastern region cancer patients wanted the diagnosis of cancer disclosed compared to 74% of those from other regions (P=0.04).Conclusion: The findings of this study indicated that most Saudi cancer patients wanted disclosure of cancer information. Significantly more women than men wanted to share information with their family. More Eastern region patients wanted to know about their diagnosis of cancer compared to patients from other regions.