Institute for Social and Economic Change

Established in 1972 by Professor V K R V Rao, ISEC is an All-India Institute for Interdisciplinary Research and Training in the Social Sciences

How are Cancer Treatment Decisions Made? Insights from A Qualitative Study Conducted Among Selected Cancer Patients in Bengaluru City (India)1 – isec

How are Cancer Treatment Decisions Made? Insights from A Qualitative Study Conducted Among Selected Cancer Patients in Bengaluru City (India)1

Abstract

Drawing on qualitative in-depth interviews conducted among cancer patients, their family members and oncologists from Bengaluru city, the paper examines the factors that influence the cancer treatment decision making processes. It examines the pathways of treatment decision making of cancer patients, which are influenced by both biomedical and non-medical factors including the initial coping with the diagnosis, socio-economic and cultural background, type of cancer and availability and accessibility to services. The paper notes that the initial treatment decision making is a combination of practitioner-led, family members/caregivers-led and patient-led pathways wherein factors such as affordability, age, gender, intimacies to the patient, convenience of family members/caregivers, availability of facilities, uncertainty of treatment outcomes and concerns of sufferings alone or jointly played a major role. These factors played a major role during treatment as well. Further, the paper notes that the cancer treatment is mostly practitioner-centric and there is a need to develop a patient-centric approach in cancer care in order to address their unmet needs pertaining to affordability, suffering and uncertainties of treatment outcomes.

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