A convenience sample of 83 patients with cancer were interviewed before and/or after a full course of radiotherapy, with 36 patients interviewed both times, to determine their perceptions about the functions served by the information received from standard care personnel Patients indicated the preferred sources of receiving information. The results indicate that information served three main functions. Active participation was the most frequently cited function, followed by anxiety reduction and preparation. There was no difference by gender, age, education, or socio economic status (SES) in type of functions cited. Disadvantages in receiving information were rarely cited but included receiving bad news and inaccurate or vague information. Many stated that they nevertheless still wanted the information. Verbal communication, especially from the physician, followed by written material, was the most popular choice for receiving information at pretreatment. Written material was more frequently cited as the preferred type of information at posttreatment. Nurses were mentioned as an information source more frequently at posttreatment than at pretreatment. Implications of the findings for practitioners working with patients with cancer are discussed. Patients with cancer.
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