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Cancer disclosure in Japan: Historical comparisons, current practices


  • Elwyn, Todd S.
  • D. Fetters, Michael
  • Gorenflo, Daniel W.
  • Tsukasa Tsuda


Although Japanese physicians historically have not disclosed cancer diagnoses to patients, pressures upon physicians to disclose have increased in recent years. We questioned physicians practicing at a private medical hospital in rural Japan about their current approach to cancer disclosure. We compared their responses with responses of physicians in a 1991 study conducted in Japan, and two studies conducted in the United States, in 1961 and in 1977. Seventy-seven clinically active physicians with experience treating cancer patients responded (73% response rate). Forty percent of respondents reported usually telling patients of a cancer diagnosis, over three times more than the 13% who reported such a policy in Japan in 1991. Physicians were significantly more likely (P

Suggested Citation

  • Elwyn, Todd S. & D. Fetters, Michael & Gorenflo, Daniel W. & Tsukasa Tsuda, 1998. "Cancer disclosure in Japan: Historical comparisons, current practices," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1151-1163, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:46:y:1998:i:9:p:1151-1163

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    Cited by:

    1. Takahashi, Miyako & Kai, Ichiro, 2005. "Sexuality after breast cancer treatment: Changes and coping strategies among Japanese survivors," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 61(6), pages 1278-1290, September.
    2. Specker Sullivan, Laura, 2017. "Dynamic axes of informed consent in Japan," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 174(C), pages 159-168.
    3. Hagihara, Akihito & Tarumi, Kimio, 2007. "Association between physicians' communicative behaviors and judges' decisions in lawsuits on negligent care," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 83(2-3), pages 213-222, October.


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