WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Lung cancer patients who are given the opportunity to be informed of their diagnosis have a longer median survival time, according to a study published in the May issue of Psycho-Oncology.

Tong Su, Ph.D., of the College of Psychology at The Second Military Medical University in Shanghai, and colleagues performed a retrospective cohort study of 29,825 patients with lung cancer to determine whether there are any associations between being informed of one’s diagnosis and time of survival. Participants were enrolled in the study between October 2002 and December 2016 and had a follow-up appointment every six months through June 2017.

The researchers found that patients who had been informed of their cancer diagnosis had a longer median survival time (18.33 months) than uninformed patients (8.77 months). Median survival time for all participants within the study was 11.20 months, and by June 2017, 23.1 percent of participants had survived. Predicted survival time for patients who were unaware of their diagnosis was poor. The investigators also found that median survival time was influenced by occupation, a higher reporting hospital grade, female sex, younger age, prior surgical history, having an earlier stage of disease, and adenocarcinoma.

“Although the complete disclosure of cancer diagnoses may cause emotional disturbance in patients immediately after being told of their diagnosis, it benefits them in the long term,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Communication skills training for doctors and psychological support and education for patients and their families should be given more attention in clinical practice.”

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