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Public perception of cancer care in Poland and Austria

Public perception of cancer care in Poland and Austria

Oncologist 20(1): 28-36

We compared the public perception of cancer care in Poland and Austria. Both countries are members of the European Union (EU) but reflect two extremes in health-related per capita spending. Recently, the EUROCARE-5 study reported on very discrepant cancer outcomes between the two countries. A one-time survey was conducted to compare the public perception of cancer treatment in Poland and Austria. In total, 3,649 subjects, representing the general population, cancer patients, and cancer patients' family members, were surveyed. In both countries, cancer was considered the most challenging problem of the health care system, and health care was indicated as the most important issue influencing political election decisions. Polish compared with Austrian cancer patients gave a significantly lower positive assessment of overall cancer treatment efficacy and detection methods. Cancer cure rates estimated by Polish and Austrian citizens were 29% and 44%, respectively. The majority of all citizens interviewed thought that cancer patients should have access to all available registered cancer drugs. However, only 18% of Poles versus 62% of Austrians agreed with the notion that the available cancer treatment in their countries is of a standard comparable to that of other EU countries. Consequently, 24% of Poles and 7% of Austrians identified financial status, age, gender, and residence as factors influencing the availability of cancer treatments. In both countries, cancer is considered the most challenging problem of the health care system, and health care issues may strongly influence decisions for political elections. Vast differences in the two populations' perceptions of cancer care reflect actual cancer outcomes and the national per capita spending on health-related issues.

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Accession: 058661717

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PMID: 25520325

DOI: 10.1634/theoncologist.2014-0226

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