In cancer communication, most of the literature is in the realm of delivering bad news while much less attention has been given to the communication of uncertain news around the diagnosis and the possible outcomes of the illness. Drawing on video-recorded cancer consultations collected in two Italian hospitals, this article analyzes three communication practices used by oncologists to interactionally manage the uncertainty during the visit: alternating between uncertain bad news and certain good news, anticipating scenarios, and guessing test results. Both diagnostic and personal uncertainties are not hidden to the patient, yet they are reduced through these practices. Such communication practices are present in 32 % of the visits in the data set, indicating that the interactional management of uncertainty is a relevant phenomenon in oncological encounters. Further studies are needed to improve both its understanding and its teaching.

Communicating uncertain news in cancer consultations / Alby, Francesca; Zucchermaglio, Cristina; Fatigante, Marilena. - In: JOURNAL OF CANCER EDUCATION. - ISSN 0885-8195. - 32:4(2017), pp. 858-864. [10.1007/s13187-016-1070-x]

Communicating uncertain news in cancer consultations

ALBY, Francesca;ZUCCHERMAGLIO, Cristina;FATIGANTE, Marilena
2017

Abstract

In cancer communication, most of the literature is in the realm of delivering bad news while much less attention has been given to the communication of uncertain news around the diagnosis and the possible outcomes of the illness. Drawing on video-recorded cancer consultations collected in two Italian hospitals, this article analyzes three communication practices used by oncologists to interactionally manage the uncertainty during the visit: alternating between uncertain bad news and certain good news, anticipating scenarios, and guessing test results. Both diagnostic and personal uncertainties are not hidden to the patient, yet they are reduced through these practices. Such communication practices are present in 32 % of the visits in the data set, indicating that the interactional management of uncertainty is a relevant phenomenon in oncological encounters. Further studies are needed to improve both its understanding and its teaching.
cancer; doctor-patient communication; Italy/Italian; practice-based studies; uncertain news; oncology; public health; environmental and occupational health
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01a Articolo in rivista
Communicating uncertain news in cancer consultations / Alby, Francesca; Zucchermaglio, Cristina; Fatigante, Marilena. - In: JOURNAL OF CANCER EDUCATION. - ISSN 0885-8195. - 32:4(2017), pp. 858-864. [10.1007/s13187-016-1070-x]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/934125
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