Information request for cancer patients is high with frequent reported unmet needs. Well informed patients are: more involved in shared decision making, report higher levels of satisfaction with care and better quality of life. The aim of this study is to compare perceived information on cancer evolution between women and men in cancer survivors five years after diagnosis.
The VICAN survey is a French representative sample of 4174, 5-years cancer survivors. Self-reported data were collected by telephone interviews and self-administrated questionnaires. Only non-gendered cancers were selected (excluded: breast, prostate cancer...). Univariate and multivariate analyzes have been performed using STATA 12.
2243 out of 4174 patients were selected, 54.2% were male, median age was 58 years and men were significantly older (63 vs 55, p < 0.001). Women had a higher level of education (p = 0,011), reported more attention difficulties (p = 0.026) and memory problems (p < 0,001) while men reported more hearing loss (p < 0.001). No difference was found for depression (assessed by HADS scale) and the level of literacy. Women reported being less informed of minor symptoms (28.6% vs. 20.5%, p < 0.001) and less informed of severe symptoms of their cancer (18.2% vs. 12.0%, p = 0.001) The gender difference was statistically significant for the overall population but not within each localization of cancer, except for kidney cancer: men were feeling not well informed about minor symptoms (21.1% vs 29.1%, p = 0.020). Women used more frequently internet to search information (27.6% vs 19.5%, p < 0.001). Only 2.7% of patients used internet to look for information about patients’ associations and women used it more frequently (3.9% vs. 1.7%, p = 0.009).
Cancer survivors have been found to benefit from health care information. In this large prospective analysis in non-gendered cancers, women reported lower levels of information than men and searched online information more frequently. Gender difference and preference for information is an important issue in order to give appropriate information to cancer patients.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
SESSTIM (Sciences Economiques & Sociales de la Santé & Traitement de l’Information Médicale).
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.