Background: This study was to evaluate the participation role and conflict of patients during the decision-making process for endoscopic or surgical treatment for early gastric cancer (EGC). Methods: In this prospective observational study, the sequential survey for patients under consideration for treatment of differentiated EGC was performed at the tertiary referral center. Results: Among the 82 responders, 63.4% preferred endoscopic resection. The total decisional conflict scores were high and significantly different between groups that preferred endoscopic resection or surgical treatment (44.8 vs. 51.6, P = 0.016). Values assigned to the two treatment attributes "preservation of stomach (OR = 0.51)" and "bother in case of incomplete resection (OR = 2.13)" clearly discriminated between patients reaching a final decision of surgical gastrectomy or endoscopic resection. Regarding the participation role, a shared role was more frequent in the group with preference for endoscopic treatment before consultation (42.3% vs. 24.0%, P = 0.045). However, at the time of therapeutic decision, the passive role was most remarkable, both for the endoscopic (53.2%) and surgical (71.4%) groups. Conclusion: Despite the high overall decisional conflict, patients with preference for endoscopic treatment tended to be more autonomous. After consultation, all patients exhibited a passive participation role in the decision-making process.
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