Objectives: The aim of this study is to evaluate the views of cancer patients on patient rights in the context of the right to information and autonomy according to articles related to the issue in the “Patient Rights Regulation”.
Methods: The research was conducted among cancer patients in the medical oncology department of a research and practice hospital using a random sampling method between June and September 2005. Data were collected during face-to-face interviews using a questionnaire.
Results: There was a high rate of positive response to the items that the patients have the right to be informed (86.5%), that the physician should inform the patient on the diagnosis and the treatment (92.3%) and that the physician is obliged to inform the patient (76.9%). Only 43.3% of the patients stated that the patient has the right to refuse the treatment recommended by the physician. The participants mostly agreed that the patient should participate in decisions about the treatment and that patient consent should be given (78.8%).
Conclusions: There are extensive efforts in Turkey towards making patient rights a significant supportive component of health services. For patient rights to become a natural part of medical practice it is necessary to give priority to education of both patients and physicians about patient rights and to lay emphasis on an ethical approach in the patient–physician relationship.