Prior to the proposed development of a pretreatment counselling package for patients with cancer of the larynx or pharynx, a study was undertaken to determine current information giving practice prior to laryngectomy. A postal questionnaire was sent to all UK ENT consultants registered in the Medical Directory. The response rate was 88%, with 48% meeting the study's entry criteria. Counselling practice varies widely. Surgeons report an average of 15 min available for discussion with the patient: 84% gave the diagnosis and discussed the treatment options at the same consultation. The size of the department, as measured by cases seen per year, did not correlate with the consultation time although it did with the numerous different issues discussed. Whilst the survey supports the need and desire for an appropriate counselling package, many surgeons feel that they alone know what the patient's information needs are
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