Departmental Bulletin Paper Influence of the treatment schedule on the physicians’ decisions to refer bone metastases patients for palliative radiotherapy : a questionnaire survey of physicians in various specialties

Saito, Tetsuo  ,  Toya, Ryo  ,  Semba, Akiko  ,  Matsuyama, Tomohiko  ,  Oya, Natsuo

78 ( 3 )  , pp.275 - 284 , 2016-08 , Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, School of Medicine
We investigated whether the treatment schedule influences physicians’ decisions to refer their patients for radiotherapy. We presented a questionnaire to 104 physicians in various specialties at three hospitals. It included three hypothetical patients with uncomplicated painful bone metastasis: patients with an expected life span of one year (case 1), 6 months (case 2), and 2 months (case 3). The physicians were asked whether they would refer their patients for radiotherapy when a radiation oncologist presented three different treatment schedules: a short (8 Gy/1 fraction/1 day)-, a medium (20 Gy/5 fractions/1 week)-, and a long (30 Gy/10 fractions/2 weeks) schedule. We used Cochran’s Q-test to compare the percentage of physicians across the three schedules and a mixed-effect logistic model to identify predictors of the selection of only the one-day schedule. Of the 104 physicians, 68 (65%) responded. Of these, 37 (54%), 27 (40%), and 26 (38%) chose to refer patients for radiotherapy when the short-, medium-, and long schedules, respectively, were proposed in case 1 (p = 0.14). These numbers were 44 (65%), 29 (43%), and 15 (22%) for case 2 (p < 0.001), and 59 (87%), 12 (18%), and 1 (1%) for case 3 (p < 0.001). Hypothetical patient and the physicians’ years of practice and perspective regarding side effects were independently predictive of the selection of only the one-day schedule. In conclusion, the treatment schedule influenced the physicians’ decisions to refer patients for radiotherapy.

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