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

Citation:

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. 

Sep 17, 2018 @ 8:02 pm 

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