The statutory duty of physicians to inform patients versus unmet patients’ information needs: The case of breast cancer in France Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: (1) To explore empirically the extent to which early stage breast cancer patients in France, wish to be informed about their disease and treatments and (2) in view of the statutory duty of physicians to inform patients, to explore, from the patients' point of view, the type of information given by physicians and whether it meets their information needs. METHODS: A retrospective, cross-sectional survey questionnaire using standardized questions was administered by mail to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and evaluated their relationships with the different physicians involved in their treatment at different points in time. Focus was placed on the relationship between surgeons and patients. RESULTS: Two hundred and thirty-eight patients completed the questionnaire on their relationship with their surgeon. Patients' reported information needs are considerable, though significantly different depending on the item. Patients report that surgeons do not fully respond to their needs. Even though physicians are legally required to provide information to their patients, in routine practice they seem to favour providing information about disease and treatment side effects over treatment consequences, even though patients express a need for information on these latter items. CONCLUSION: More research is needed on the development, use and outcomes of the various strategies and interventions designed to facilitate and improve information transfer in the physician-patient encounter in France.


  • Moumjid, Nora
  • Charles, Cathy
  • Morelle, Magali
  • Gafni, Amiram Jacob
  • Brémond, Alain
  • Farsi, Fadila
  • Whelan, Tim
  • Carrère, Marie-Odile

publication date

  • July 2009