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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2018

Treatment selection of early stage non-small cell lung cancer: the role of the patient in clinical decision making

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2018
S. Mokhles, J. J. M. E. Nuyttens, M. de Mol, J. G. J. V. Aerts, A. P. W. M. Maat, Ö. Birim, A. J. J. C. Bogers, J. J. M. Takkenberg
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1186/​s12885-018-3986-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.



The objective of this study is to investigate the role and experience of early stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patient in decision making process concerning treatment selection in the current clinical practice.


Stage I-II NSCLC patients (surgery 55 patients, SBRT 29 patients, median age 68) were included in this prospective study and completed a questionnaire that explored: (1) perceived patient knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment options, (2) experience with current clinical decision making, and (3) the information that the patient reported to have received from their treating physician. This was assessed by multiple-choice, 1–5 Likert Scale, and open questions. The Decisional Conflict Scale was used to assess the decisional conflict. Health related quality of life (HRQoL) was measured with SF-36 questionnaire.


In 19% of patients, there was self-reported perceived lack of knowledge about the advantages and disadvantages of the treatment options. Seventy-four percent of patients felt that they were sufficiently involved in decision-making by their physician, and 81% found it important to be involved in decision making. Forty percent experienced decisional conflict, and one-in-five patients to such an extent that it made them feel unsure about the decision. Subscores with regard to feeling uninformed and on uncertainty, contributed the most to decisional conflict, as 36% felt uninformed and 17% of patients were not satisfied with their decision. HRQoL was not influenced by patient experience with decision-making or patient preferences for shared decision making.


Dutch early-stage NSCLC patients find it important to be involved in treatment decision making. Yet a substantial proportion experiences decisional conflict and feels uninformed. Better patient information and/or involvement in treatment-decision-making is needed in order to improve patient knowledge and hopefully reduce decisional conflict.
Additional file 1: Questionnaire used in the study. Description of data: Questionnaire used in the study. (DOC 50 kb)
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