Maltese Perspectives on Breaking Bad News in Cancer: An Assessment of Patients’ Preferences

Joëlle Azzopardi, Dorothy Galea Gauci, Patricia A. Parker, Neville Calleja, Jeff A. Sloan, Raymond Zammit

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Purpose: It is unclear whether Maltese cancer patients wish to know their diagnosis or to what extent they want to be informed. The aim was to assess patients’ preferences for receiving a cancer diagnosis and being involved in the decision-making process, and then compare this with results from similar international studies. Methods: A total of 252 patients were invited to complete two standardised tools: a Measure of Patients’ Perspective (MPP), assessing patients’ preferences for receiving news about their cancer, and a Control Preferences Scale (CPS), examining involvement in decision-making. Results: Patients rated ‘content’ (information given; mean 4.17, standard deviation: SD 0.59) as more important (p < 0.001) than ‘support’ (offering comfort/support; mean 3.73, SD 0.68) and ‘facilitation’ (how information is given; mean 3.86, SD 0.68). Patients with higher levels of education had higher scores for ‘content’ (p = 0.018) and ‘facilitation’ (p < 0.001) on MPP, while lower education levels preferred a passive role (p = 0.01) on CPS. Although there is a trend towards a collaborative and even active role in treatment decisions, patients still exhibit a submissive attitude towards their physician. Conclusions: Maltese cancer patients want to be informed of their cancer diagnosis, its treatment and prognosis, similarly to other international studies. However, 60% prefer to leave medical decisions in their physician’s hands when compared to other studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPhilosophy and Medicine
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages19
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePhilosophy and Medicine
ISSN (Print)0376-7418
ISSN (Electronic)2215-0080


  • Decision-making
  • Health literacy
  • Neoplasms
  • Patient preference
  • Patient rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy


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