The practice of nondisclosure of advanced cancer diagnosis in Singapore: a continuing challenge
Singapore medical journal
METHODS Consecutive patients (n = 100) with advanced cancer who were referred to a palliative home care service in 2004 were studied retrospectively. Comparison between the 1992 and present study groups was performed using chisquare and Fisher's exact tests. Multivariate logistic regression was applied to patient age, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status, gender and ethnicity to identify factors associated with nondisclosure. RESULTS The overall nondisclosure rate among
... atients with advanced cancer was 23% (23/100), compared to only 2% (2/99) among their families (p < 0.001). The nondisclosure rates among ECOG 0-2 and ECOG 3-4 patients were 11% (7/62) and 42% (16/38), respectively (p < 0.001). There was no significant improvement in the nondisclosure rate among ECOG 3-4 patients when compared to the 1992 study (p = 0.94). It was more likely for nondisclosure to occur among patients aged ≥ 70 years (p < 0.001; odds ratio [OR] 14.77, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.68-59.26) and those with poor ECOG performance status (p = 0.019; OR 4.0, 95% CI 1.26-12.73). There was no significant association between nondisclosure and gender or ethnicity (p > 0.05). CONCLUSION Disclosure of diagnosis to patients with advanced cancer remains a challenge in Singapore. The relationship between nondisclosure and advanced age, as well as nondisclosure and poor ECOG performance status, needs to be clarified with further studies.