Background: Cancer patients’ satisfaction with their treatment decisions has been demonstrated to be associated with improved health outcomes, but few studies of this issue have been conducted in Japan. Objective: To explore key factors in enhancing patient satisfaction, we assessed the association between their satisfaction and their relationships with their physicians. Methods: We conducted cross-sectional questionnaire surveys among patients who had received cancer treatment. One source was outpatients from a cancer center hospital, and the other was through the website of Japan’s most popular newspaper. The questionnaire included demographic questions and general self-rated life status issues, such as peace of mind, quality of life, daily activities, family relationships, rapport with attending physician, assessment of the physician’s explanations, and feelings of happiness during the previous week. Results: Of 576 respondents, 383 subjects said they were satisfied and 193 dissatisfied. It was confirmed that the online survey was comparable to the paper-based survey in examining patient satisfaction. The dissatisfied group included more females and fewer subjects who were forced to retire from jobs than the satisfied group. The patients in the satisfied group had a more favorable subjective opinion of their recent life. The patients in the dissatisfied group received more chemotherapy and had more side effects than those in the satisfied group. Assessment of the physician’s role showed significant differences between the two groups; the patients in the satisfied group felt more than those in the dissatisfied group that their physicians’ explanations of treatment were sufficient and were satisfied with their rapport with their physicians. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that rapport with physicians was a significant factor (odds ratio=3.79, 95% CI=2.25-6.39). Conclusions: Rapport between physicians and patients is one of the most important factors in patient satisfaction with treatment decisions.
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