The Differences in Preference for Truth-telling of Patients With Cancer of Different Genders

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Abstract

Background:

Patients' personality traits, especially age, gender, and cancer stage, tend to affect doctors' truth-telling methods. However, there is a lack of studies investigating the influence of patients' gender on truth-telling, especially for Asian cultures.

Objective:

The aims of this study were to qualitatively investigate the differences in preferences for truth-telling for patients with cancer of different genders and explore patients' preferences for decision making.

Methods:

For this descriptive qualitative study, in-depth interviews were conducted with 20 patients with cancer (10 men and 10 women) using a semistructured interview guide. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. Data collection and analysis occurred concurrently; content analysis developed categories and themes.

Results:

Data analysis revealed 2 themes: (1) similar gender preferences for truth-telling and decision making: knowledge of their medical condition, direct and frank truthfulness, and assistance in decision making for subsequent treatment programs, and (2) preferences in truth-telling that differed by gender: women wanted family members present for confirmation of diagnosis, whereas men did not; men preferred truth-telling for only key points of their cancer, whereas women wanted detailed information; and men did not want to know their survival period, whereas women wanted this information.

Conclusions:

Our study revealed similar gender preferences for truth-telling regarding knowledge and decision making; however, preferences differed for family support, scope of information, and survival time.

Implications for Practice:

These findings can serve as a reference for nurses and other healthcare personnel when implementing truth-telling for patients given a diagnosis of cancer. Strategies can be targeted for specific preferences of men and women.

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