Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 297–303 | Cite as

Making an informed decision of Korean cancer patients: the discrepancy between a patient’s recall of information and the information needed for acquisition of radiotherapy informed consent

  • Hye Ran Lee
  • Chiyeon Lim
  • Hyong Geun Yun
  • Seung Hee Kang
  • Do Yeun KimEmail author
Original Article



To give informed consent, a patient needs to sufficiently understand the information provided by a physician to decide among treatment options. Although shared decision-making is becoming an important aspect of patient-centered care, little is known about decision-making by cancer patients in Korea.


This study assessed Korean cancer patients’ understanding of treatment goals and the need to obtain further information after a physician obtained informed consent for radiotherapy.


In this prospective study, doctors and patients completed questionnaires independently after informed consent for radiotherapy had been obtained. The questionnaires for the doctors and patients were comprised of matched items regarding treatment aims and the need for further information.


The study enrolled 103 cancer patients scheduled for radiotherapy. The proportion of respondents who stated that the intent of treatment was to bring about a cure was 80.6% among the patients (83 of 103 patients) and 53.4% (55 of 103 patients) among the doctors (p = 0.000). The proportion of respondents who believed that the aim was prolongation of life was 16.5 and 1.9%, respectively (p = 0.000). Regarding the need for further information, 42.7% (44/103) of the patients did not want further information because they had faith in the physicians’ medical expertise.


Many Korean cancer patients misunderstand the aims of treatment and half of participants do not want further information. Physicians should address whether specific interventions can solve these barriers so that Korean cancer patients can make truly autonomous treatment decisions.


Informed consent Cancer patients Korea 



No funding was received for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the present study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional review board and with the Helsinki declaration.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hye Ran Lee
    • 1
  • Chiyeon Lim
    • 2
  • Hyong Geun Yun
    • 3
  • Seung Hee Kang
    • 4
  • Do Yeun Kim
    • 5
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Internal MedicineInje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of MedicineGoyangSouth Korea
  2. 2.Biostatistics of School of MedicineDongguk UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  3. 3.Department of Radiation OncologyDongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Dongguk University College of MedicineGoyangSouth Korea
  4. 4.Department of Radiation OncologyInje University Ilsan Paik Hospital, Inje University College of MedicineGoyangSouth Korea
  5. 5.Department of Internal MedicineDongguk University Ilsan Hospital, Dongguk University College of MedicineGoyangSouth Korea

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