Prognostic Awareness and Patient-Physician Communication in Malignant Glioma

Full Title

Prognostic Awareness and Patient-Physician Communication in Malignant Glioma


There is increasing evidence that communication between patients with cancer and their doctors is a critical component of medical care. Satisfactory communication between doctors, patients, and families about treatment and prognosis (the prediction of how a patient will likely fare with cancer) leads to better outcomes, such as quality of life and psychological well-being. Studies show that caregivers and even some physicians fear that having a candid discussion about a patient’s prognosis will cause psychological harm. However, there is strong evidence that most patients with cancer prefer full disclosure of information delivered in a compassionate way.

Patient-doctor communication is particularly crucial in the management of malignant brain tumors. Because malignant glioma causes a tremendous burden of symptoms and is so challenging to treat successfully, competent and compassionate patient-physician communication is key. The purpose of this study is to learn more about how well patients with glioma — and their caregivers — understand their disease, their wishes and preferences regarding communication with their physicians, and whether an accurate understanding of their disease impacts their psychological well-being and overall quality of life. Researchers hope to use the findings of this study to improve communication between patients with glioma and their caregivers and the doctors who are providing their care.

Participants will have an interview to assess their understanding of their disease and prognosis, and complete a questionnaire about their preferences and satisfaction with communication, short tests of thinking and memory, a survey about anxiety and depression, and a quality of life assessment.


This study includes English-speaking adult patients with grade III or grade IV glioma who are being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, as well as their caregivers.

For more information about this study, please contact Dr. Eli Diamond at 212-610-0243.