The physician-patient relationship and quality of life: Lessons from chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Tait D. Shanafelt, Deborah A. Bowen, Chaya Venkat, Susan L. Slager, Clive S. Zent, Neil E. Kay, Megan Reinalda, Han Tun, Jeff A. Sloan, Timothy G. Call

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

We evaluated patients' satisfaction with the physician caring for them as part of an international web-based survey of quality of life (QOL) in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL; n = 1482). Over half (55.9%) of patients thought about their diagnosis daily. Although >90% felt their doctor understood how their disease was progressing (i.e., stage, blood counts, nodes), <70% felt their physician understood how CLL affected their QOL (anxiety, worry, fatigue). Reported satisfaction with their physician in a variety of areas strongly related to patients' measured emotional and overall QOL (all p < 0.001). Physician use of specific euphemistic phrases to characterize CLL (e.g., "CLL is the 'good' leukemia") was also associated with lower emotional QOL among patients (p < 0.001). These effects on QOL remained (p < 0.001) after adjustment for age, co-morbid health conditions, fatigue, and treatment status. The effectiveness with which physicians help patients adjust to the physical, intellectual, and emotional challenges of CLL appears to impact patient QOL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-270
Number of pages8
JournalLeukemia Research
Volume33
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009

Keywords

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Communication
  • Leukemia
  • Quality of life
  • Supportive care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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