601P - Patient-provider communication in colorectal cancer: An International Study of Oncologists' Challenges

Date 29 September 2014
Event ESMO 2014
Session Poster Display session
Topics Psychosocial Aspects of Cancer
Colon Cancer
Rectal Cancer
Patient Education
Presenter Suzanne Murray
Citation Annals of Oncology (2014) 25 (suppl_4): iv167-iv209. 10.1093/annonc/mdu333
Authors S. Murray1, P. Lazure1, J.L. Marshall2, S.M. Hayes1
  • 1Performance Improvement Research, AXDEV Group Inc., J4W 3H2 - Brossard/CA
  • 2Division Of Hematology/oncology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington/US



Oncologists treating and managing patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) may experience challenges, including communication issues, which can hinder optimal care. To identify gaps in the knowledge, skills, and competencies of these oncologists, an international, IRB-approved assessment of practice challenges was conducted in seven countries.


Qualitative data (semi-structured interviews) and quantitative data (online surveys) were combined in a mixed-methods approach. The sample consisted of 358 oncologists from China (n = 68), France (n = 44), Germany (n = 44), Italy (n = 45), Spain (n = 44), UK (n = 45), and US (n = 68). Country differences in response to the survey were investigated using ANOVAs and Tahmane's T2 post-hoc tests.


Ten practice gaps were identified internationally: eight knowledge and skills gaps, one system gap, and one gap in oncologists’ skills in communicating and engaging the patients in their treatment plans. Although identified in all countries, important country-specific details were observed. Regarding the skill to engage patients in shared decision-making, low perceived relevance was reported by participants from China (35%), France (35%) and Italy (32%), while UK (93%) and US (78%) oncologists reported the skill as relevant to their practice. Country differences were also reported in the perceived relevance and the self-reported current level of skill in addressing issues between patients and family, managing patients’ fears and expectations, and addressing psychosocial needs. Discussing the impact of medication on quality of life with patients was considered important (≥90%) in all countries. Oncologists from France (48%) and Germany (40%) rated their confidence discussing this topic as 3 or lower on a 5-point scale (1-Low to 5-Optimal).


This study has identified challenges that are hampering oncologists’ communication with patients in 7 countries. Important differences appear between countries in the perceived levels of relevance and self-reported skills on many communication-related items. Findings should help oncologists reflect on their own practice and the importance of patient-provider communication.


All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.