Medical doctors' (MDs), but not patients', perception of supportive care in cancer (SCC) in France has been previously assessed in a national survey. This study evaluated MDs and patients' perceptions of the SCC organization and implementation in France.
The French SCC Association conducted two observational studies: study 1 (S1), containing a 30-point questionnaire sent to 2263 MDs, and study 2 (S2), containing a 40-point questionnaire sent to 2000 patients.
Overall, 711 MDs completed S1 and 1562 patients completed S2. In S1, 81% of MDs reported relying on a SCC organization and 76% attended SCC multidisciplinary discussions. MDs considered palliative (98%), psychological (98%), and social care (98%) as the top 3 SCC areas of importance for patients. In contrast, patients' priorities were psychology (61%), nutrition (55%) and organization of intake consultations (55%). The concept of SCC was familiar to 34% of patients; according to MDs, this concept was introduced mainly by MDs (78%) and admission nurses (41%). Outpatients identified as professional resources for SCC information general practitioners (84%), nurses (58%), and pharmacists (52%). Patients reported supportive treatment being prescribed in 63% of cases, with 64% receiving information on the negative side-effects. Among MDs, 87% reported proposing palliative and 41% adjuvant SCC treatment. Furthermore, 72% of MDs recommended SCC treatment at the metastatic stage, and 36% immediately following diagnosis.
Oncologists play a vital role in enhancing SCC efficacy. This can be increased by implementing a multidisciplinary integrated approach or by assuring the availability of patient information.