One in Four Dissatisfied with Cancer Care Across the USA, Survey Shows

Change is necessary to improve the care experience

Apr 15, 2013, 09:30 ET from Cancer Treatment Centers of America

SCHAUMBURG, Ill., April 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cancer Experience: A National Study of Patients and Caregivers, a first-of-its-kind study, commissioned by Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), found that one-quarter of cancer patients and caregivers were not satisfied with their care, regardless of treatment outcome. Additionally, 20 percent of patients switched healthcare providers as a result of their dissatisfaction.

The study measures the comprehensive experience of cancer patients and their caregivers, and provides critical insights to the reality of the cancer care experience. The survey indicates serious gaps between the expectations for care, and the reality of care received today.

The Cancer Experience study was based on a sample of 1,000 cancer patients and 1,000 caregivers who received treatment at hospitals across the United States.

"In the last several decades, great strides have been made in groundbreaking research, new cancer treatments, and the development of advanced technology," said Stephen B. Bonner, President and CEO, Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  "According to the study, however, responding to patient and caregiver needs, expectations and the overall cancer care experience has fallen behind the advances in clinical and medical treatment.  Better communication and better total support were repeated requests by patients and caregivers."

Beverly Knudson of Phoenix, Arizona, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma three years ago, affirmed the study findings: "I have been treated by doctors that were dismissive of my concerns and did not communicate with one another — forcing me to try and manage all the moving parts of my care. Dealing with cancer is hard enough without having to worry about the added stress of trying to coordinate all my appointments. When I finally found a team that I could trust at CTCA, one that thoroughly explained my diagnosis and treatment approach, it took a huge burden off me. It made me feel more at ease and in control of my health. Most importantly, it allowed me to focus fully on my recovery."

"We believe these results are a wake-up call to the healthcare community," said Bonner. "Since our beginning, CTCA's mission has been to treat and heal the whole person and improve quality of life. Our hope is that cancer hospitals will utilize the results of our survey and study the patient centric model."

The Cancer Experience study results include:

  • More than two-thirds of patients and caregivers say a specific individual to coordinate care is important to them, however only one-third actually had access to a personal resource person.
  • Psychological counseling was rated number one among caregivers as the biggest driver in overall satisfaction, yet only 26 percent say they received that support.
  • Patients and caregivers stressed the importance of communication and integrated care, from diagnosis through at-home follow-up, but there is a double-digit gap between that expectation and the reality of what they experience.

About Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Inc. (CTCA) is a national network of hospitals focusing on complex and advanced stage cancer. CTCA offers a comprehensive, fully integrated approach to cancer treatment and serves patients from all 50 states at facilities located in Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Tulsa. Known for delivering the Mother Standard® of care and Patient Empowerment Medicine®, CTCA provides patients with information about cancer and their treatment options so they can control their treatment decisions. For more information about CTCA, go to

Angela Salerno

Susan Morris

SOURCE Cancer Treatment Centers of America