The evaluation of the degree of fulfilment of cancer patients’ expectations toward their doctors

Anna Kornaś, Barbara Bętkowska-Korpała


Introduction: Oncologically treated patients are a group that requires complementary, multi-disciplinary medical treatment and support. One of the elements of holistic treatment is medical personnel getting to know the patients’ expectations.

The main goal of this study was to analyse the expectations that patients with cancer have of their doctors. Two layers of these expectations were assessed – expectations currently being realised, and ideal expectations.

Materials and methods: 107 patients with cancer were qualified to this research. 53 of them received chemotherapy, and 54 radiotherapy. This study was cross-sectional. The research tool was a structured questionnaire which included information on sociodemographic data, about cancer within the closest relatives, and an expectation test prepared by Golzweig et al.

Results: In patients’ opinion, currently realised expectations were mostly expressive activities: the possibility to trust a doctor (45% of patients) and the possibility to talk freely (44%). The most frequently declared ideal expectations were the possibility to trust a doctor (67%) and tohave the treatment plan explained (63%). Ideal expectations were studied with cluster analysis. Two groups were selected. The first of them comprised patients with a higher expectation level (n = 47), and the second were patients with a lower expectation level of their doctors (n = 53). Higher expectations were essentially more often declared by women, who were 62.5% of respondents in the first group (p = 0.003). An important, monotonic relation was observed between level of education and higher expectations (p = 0.02).

Conclusions: Patients treated oncologically expect emotional support and full information about their illness and treatment from their doctors. A higher level of expectations was declared by women, and both sexes with higher education.


patients’ expectations; physician–patient relations; cancer patients

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