Dr. Emily Albright, MD Surgical Oncology Missouri University Health Care

Patients Most Often Receive Breast Cancer Diagnosis By Phone

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Emily Albright, MD Surgical Oncology Missouri University Health Care

Dr. Albright

Dr. Emily Albright, MD
Surgical Oncology
Missouri University Health Care

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Traditional medicine had a paternalistic approach but more recent changes have transitioned into shared decision making and a patient centered approach. However, current research has not addressed the mode of communicating bad news to patients.

This study was designed to look at trends in modes of communication of a breast cancer diagnosis. This study identified a trend for patients to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer over the telephone in more recent years. Also noted was that of those receiving the diagnosis in person 40% were alone.

MedicalResearch.com: Relaying bad news is one of the most time consuming and emotionally demanding part of a physician’s job.  How can the process be improved for both the patient and to limit physician burnout? 

Response: Relaying back news is a complicated process, especially with breast cancer. The news may come from a variety of sources from a radiologist the patient has never met to a primary care physician with a long term relationship. Improvements will need to take both the patient and the physician into consideration. Timeliness of providing answers to patients must be balanced with available physician resources. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: The study results have identified a trend in mode of delivery. Future research should be directed at expectations of communication, assessment of satisfaction, and facilitation of patient care. Additional qualitative research on actual patient-physician encounters could also aid in the training of future physicians. 

No disclosure


Support Care Cancer. 2018 Aug 7. doi: 10.1007/s00520-018-4383-y. [Epub ahead of print]

Breaking bad news of a breast cancer diagnosis over the telephone: an emerging trend.

McElroy JA1, Proulx CM2, Johnson L3, Heiden-Rootes KM4, Albright EL5, Smith J6, Brown MT7. 

[wysija_form id=”3″]


The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.


Last Updated on September 17, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD