Empowering patients in decision‐making in radiation oncology – can we do better?

By Michelle Leech, Matthew S. Katz, Joanna Kazmierska, Julie McCrossin & Sandra Turner, FebsPress, 20 March 2020


The decision as to whether or not a patient should receive radiation therapy as part of their cancer treatment is based on evidence‐based practice and on recommended international consensus treatment guidelines. However, the merit of involving the patients’ individual preferences and values in the treatment decision is frequently overlooked.

Here, we review the current literature pertaining to shared decision‐making (SDM) in the field of radiation oncology, including discussion of the patient’s perception of radiation therapy as a treatment option and patient involvement in clinical trials.

The merit of decision aids during the SDM process in radiation oncology is considered, as are patient preferences for active or passive involvement in decisions about their treatment. Clarity of terminology, a better understanding of effective strategies and increased resources will be needed to ensure SDM in radiation oncology becomes a reality.

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