Cancer patient compliance with medical advice and procedures is crucial to successful treatment. This study assessed the views of 246 randomly selected oncologists about the extent of, and reasons for, cancer patient noncompliance. A questionnaire was designed to assess aspects of a) appointment-keeping, b) adherence to outpatient and inpatient treatments, and c) adherence to self-medication instructions. Difficulties with cancer patients' adherence to either inpatient or outpatient treatments were reported as the most difficult problems. Oncologists who reported greater problems with non-compliance had significantly more patients on randomized clinical trials.
Oncologists cited psychological problems as a prime determinant for noncompliance. Treatment-related side effects were also seen as contributing to patient non-compliance.
The results suggest that mental health and educational disciplines could play a significant role in the reduction of cancer patient noncompliance.
aFrom the University of Rochester Cancer Center, and Department of Psychiatry.
bFrom the University of Rochester Cancer Outer, and Department of Medicine.
cFrom the University of Rochester Cancer Center, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.