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Using online surveys to analyse patients' treatment preferences

Study looks to understand the preferences of patients with multiple myeloma regarding the benefits and risks of cancer treatment.

Study looks to understand the preferences of patients with multiple myeloma regarding the benefits and risks of cancer treatment


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Patients’ preferences when considering the suitability of cancer treatment can be readily and systematically collected using online surveys, according to this British study.

Individuals with multiple myeloma were invited by Myeloma UK to participate in an online survey based on multicriteria decision analysis to elicit individual preferences regarding the possible risks and benefits of cancer treatment.

Most of the study sample ranked increasing the probability of being disease progression-free for one year or longer, from 50% to 90%, as more important than lessening the likelihood of life-threatening toxicity from 80% to 20%, and then making similar reductions in mild to moderate chronic toxicity. Nonetheless, there were notable demographic differences in responses; the people who gave a higher weighting to the severe or life-threatening toxicity were commonly younger, in employment, carers of dependent family members or had previously experienced such complications themselves.

The authors suggest that this method of obtaining information can be used to inform decisions governing medicines regulation, monitoring and clinical management, and can be meaningfully combined with data obtained from other means and media, such as focus group interviews.


Postmus D, Richard S, Bere N et al (2018) Individual trade-offs between possible benefits and risks of cancer treatments: results from a stated preference study with patients with multiple myeloma. The Oncologist 23,1, 44-51.

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