Cancer patients silent on reporting problems to hospital

Many cancer patients don't speak up when it comes to reporting potentially harmful events to their physician or nurse or the hospital administration, according a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, published online Monday. One in five cancer patients (out of 416 breast and colon cancer patients) said something "went wrong" during their care that did or could have caused harm, including problems with medical care, delays in diagnosis or treatment and communication problems such as information exchange. However, only one-third of the interviewed patients discussed the problem with the physician or nurse they believed to be responsible, and only 10 patients reported the problem to administration, Reuters reported.

"Sometimes there's a situation where they're really still thankful for the care that they got, and so they don't want to hurt anybody by saying, 'Everything was great, except...' Or they don't want to do harm to their relationship with their doctor," lead author Kathleen Mazor from Meyers Primary Care Institute and the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester said in a Reuters article.

Healthcare systems and physicians not only must encourage patients to report such events but also respond effectively, according to the study. Article