Survey of Willingness to Accept Chemotherapy among Elderly Malaysian Patients

  • Razali, Rizah Mazzuin (Medical Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Bee, Ping Chong (Medical Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya) ;
  • Gan, Gin Gin (Medical Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya)
  • Published : 2013.03.30


Background: The geriatric population in Malaysia is predicted to increase from 4% of the total population in 1998 to 9.8% by 2020, in parallel with developments in the socioeconomy. Cancer is expected to be a major medical issue among this population. However, the decision for treatment in Malaysia is always decided by the caregivers instead of the elderly patients themselves. Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the willingness to accept chemotherapy among elderly Malaysians. Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, patients aged 60 and above from various clinics/wards were recruited. Those giving consent were interviewed using a questionnaire. Results: A total of 75 patients were recruited, 35 patients (47%) with a history of cancer. The median age was 73 years old. There were 29 Chinese (38.7%), 22 Indian (29.3%), 20 Malay (26.7%) and four other ethnicity patients. Some 83% and 73% of patients willing to accept strong and mild chemotherapy, respectively. Patients with cancer were more willing to accept strong and mild chemotherapy compared to the non-cancer group (88.6% vs 62.5%, P=0.005, 94% vs 80%, P=0.068). On sub-analysis, 71.4% and 42.9% of Chinese patients without a history of cancer were not willing to receive strong and mild chemotherapy, respectively. Conclusions: The majority of elderly patients in UMMC were willing to receive chemotherapy if they had cancer. Experience with previous treatment had positive influence on the willingness to undergo chemotherapy.


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