When surveyed, a majority of cancer patients expressed interest in participating in a patient-pathologist consultation program, according to a study recently published in the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine.
Cathryn J. Lapedis, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed the survey results of 100 cancer patients (73 percent female; average age, 54.4 years). Thirty percent of the patient group was diagnosed with breast cancer, 10 percent with prostate cancer, and 9 percent with gynecologic cancers.
The researchers found that the majority of patients (85 percent) responded that they would be interested in meeting with their pathologist to discuss their results. When assessing patient motivation for wanting to consult with their pathologists, the investigators found that patients not only wanted to feel empowered but also had a desire to demystify and have an enhanced understanding of their diagnosis. Only 7 percent of surveyed patients had no interest in further discussing their pathology results, which was found to be due to either having already treated their tumor, concerns of the results being overwhelming or confusing, or concerns of incurring additional costs.
"How many pathologists would be interested in participating and how do we ensure they have the appropriate skills for communicating with patients?" Lapedis said in a statement. "And, of course, there's a big question of how these consultation programs would be funded. We believe that like any other medical intervention, patient-pathologist consultation services should be studied to determine their effectiveness and value."