Disclosing bad news of cancer diagnosis: Patients’ preference for communication

Sabah Uddin Saqib, Khawaja Muhammad Inam Pal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The majority of relatives of cancer patients in Pakistan request their clinicians to adopt a "do not tell approach" while counselling the patients regarding their disease. The current study aimed to assess patients' understanding of their disease and how they would prefer the physicians to deliver news about cancer diagnosis and its management plan. This was a cross-sectional study in which both patients and their immediate relatives were interviewed. The study enrolled 55 patients with six different types of cancers. The study showed that 35 (65.5%) patients did not know the stage of their illness at the time of diagnosis, while 40 (72.7%) patients did not know the current stage of their disease. In 22 (40%) cases, the patient's family knew the diagnosis ahead of the patient, and 19 (86.3%) families asked the clinicians to hide the diagnosis from the patient. This study, which used a scoring questionnaire, demonstrates that specialist oncologists for breaking the bad news, family counselling, helping patients to figure out how to inform others, giving the news directly to the patient and the effects of cancer on daily life are preferred areas to communicate with cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1242
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Breaking news
  • Cancer
  • Communication
  • Patients' preference


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