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14.06.2016 | Original Article | Ausgabe 11/2016

Supportive Care in Cancer 11/2016

Exploring perceptions and preferences of patients, families, physicians, and nurses regarding cancer disclosure: a descriptive qualitative study

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 11/2016
Parvaneh Abazari, Fariba Taleghani, Simin Hematti, Maryam Ehsani



The aim of this study was to explore perceptions and preferences of cancer patients, their families, physicians, and nurses in disclosing cancer diagnosis.


We selected 35 participants (15 patients, 6 family members, 9 physicians, and 5 nurses) by purposive sampling. We collected data by in-depth interviews and used qualitative content analysis for analysis.


Data analysis resulted in three categories: (1) establishing a basis for breaking bad news; (2) adjusting to the tragedy of bad news; and (3) helping the patient cope with the shattering news. The first category comprised the following subcategories: provision of proper background; adhering to a patient-centered approach; and being unhurried. The second category comprised the following subcategories: cancer as a cultural taboo; death as a frightening vision of unattainable dreams and punishment; hope as an opening in the utter darkness of disease; and empathy as liniment for the injuries of disease. The third category comprised the following subcategories: the family as the most powerful healing source for the patient; the force of spirituality in achieving peace; and a multiprofessional, harmonious physician-centered team.


The findings of this study can help healthcare teams break the bad news of cancer diagnosis in a more effective, satisfactory, and culture-based manner for patients and their families.

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