Difficult communication: a literature review on the communication of diagnosis in cancer consultations

Francesca Alby, Carmen Eboli


Communicating the diagnosis to a cancer patient is critically related to health care: giving clear information helps patients to know, assess, and participate in decisionmaking about therapies. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the literature on this relevant topic showing changes over time and considering different countries. All together the review depicts the communication of cancer diagnosis as an interactionally complex event that involves different actors (doctor, patient, family member), is influenced by several factors (at the individual, social, organizational, and cultural level), and requires doctors to deploy situated and personalized communicative abilities and practices.



cancer; oncology; doctor-patient communication; bad news; diagnosis; medical visits

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  ISSN PRINT: 1125-5196  -   ISSN ONLINE: 1974-4854