Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Complex cancer industry trial literature is too confusing for patients to understand

By J. D. Heyes

Have you ever read something so complex and confusing that it frustrated you to the point of distraction? Well, a new study has found that cancer trial literature causes that kind of frustration - and may be misleading to patients as well.

According to Prof. Mary Dixon-Woods, professor of Medical Sociology at the University of Leicester Department of Health Sciences in Great Britain, a number of cancer patients found information leaflets describing cancer trials too long, too incomprehensible and too intimidating.

"These information sheets are poorly aligned with patients' information needs and how they really make decisions about whether to join a cancer trial," said Dixon-Woods, lead author of the research http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-03/uol-cti032612.php, which was published in the international journal Sociology of Health and Illness.

"Some patients did find them very useful, but many others paid them little attention. They preferred to rely on discussions they had with their doctor to make up their minds," she said.

Creating confusion among patients

Her research, conducted as a collaboration with the Departments of Health Sciences and Cancer Studies at the University of Leicester, sought to find out why cancer trial sheets are so difficult to get right. Tracing 13 cancer trials, Dixon-Woods and her team examined information sheets from when they were first prepared by researchers leading the trials through the review and approval process by ethics panels. Read more…

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