Monday, May 28, 2012

Most Cancer Docs Reach Out to Bereaved

Seventy percent of cancer physicians contact bereaved family members and caregivers of their patients who die.  But of the 162 physicians surveyed, more than two thirds do not feel adequately trained to do this sort of reaching out.  These were the results of a study presented at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

Most of those surveyed sent condolence letters, and some called or attended funeral services.  One perceived barrier to bereavement follow-up is lack of time.  Another factor was uncertainty about which family member was the most appropriate person to contract.

“This study highlights the need to more clearly define the physicians’ role in bereavement activities and address bereavement activities in providers’ postgraduate training as we work to improve the multidisciplinary treatment of cancer patients and their families,” said lead author Aaron S. Kusano, MD, a radiation oncology resident at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. 


This article was originally published in Pathways Physician & Health Professional Bulletin - Issue 23.  To download this issue in PDF format, or past issues, visit our newsletter archives online at

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