Skip to main content

24.04.2019 | Original Article | Ausgabe 1/2020

Supportive Care in Cancer 1/2020

Responses to a cancer diagnosis: a qualitative patient-centred interview study

Supportive Care in Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2020
Emma R. Kirby, Katherine E. Kenny, Alexander F. Broom, John L. Oliffe, Sophie Lewis, David K. Wyld, Patsy M. Yates, Rhiannon B. Parker, Zarnie Lwin
Wichtige Hinweise

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



A cancer diagnosis is an emotive and challenging time for patients. This study aimed to systematically explore patients’ accounts of experiencing their cancer diagnosis. The purpose of this article is to offer a typology of patient responses to receiving a cancer diagnosis as a means through which to affirm the range of patients’ experiences and to guide clinicians’ practice.


Qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted between 2015 and 2017 with 80 patients living with cancer: 34 females and 46 males, aged between 31 and 85, diagnosed with a range of cancer types, stages and treatment trajectories, from two metropolitan hospitals on the east coast of Australia. Interview data were analysed thematically, using the framework approach.


A typology of responses to the cancer diagnosis was derived from the analysis and included (1) the incongruent diagnosis, unexpected because it did not ‘fit’ with the patient’s ‘healthy’ identity; (2) the incidental diagnosis, arising from seemingly unrelated or minor medical investigations; (3) the validating diagnosis, as explanation and confirmation of previously unexplained symptoms, pain or feelings; (4) the life context diagnosis, where the cancer diagnosis was positioned relative to other challenging life events, or as relatively inconsequential compared with the hardship of others.


A diagnosis of cancer is not always (or only) experienced by patients with shock and despair. Diagnosis is perceived and experienced in diverse ways, shaped by broader social or life contexts, and with important implications for the clinical encounter and communication from an oncology perspective.

Bitte loggen Sie sich ein, um Zugang zu diesem Inhalt zu erhalten

e.Med Interdisziplinär

Mit e.Med Interdisziplinär erhalten Sie Zugang zu allen CME-Fortbildungen und Fachzeitschriften auf Zusätzlich können Sie eine Zeitschrift Ihrer Wahl in gedruckter Form beziehen – ohne Aufpreis.

Jetzt e.Med bestellen und 100 € sparen!

Weitere Produktempfehlungen anzeigen
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2020

Supportive Care in Cancer 1/2020 Zur Ausgabe
  1. Das kostenlose Testabonnement läuft nach 14 Tagen automatisch und formlos aus. Dieses Abonnement kann nur einmal getestet werden.

Neu im Fachgebiet Onkologie

Mail Icon II Newsletter

Bestellen Sie unseren kostenlosen Newsletter Update Onkologie und bleiben Sie gut informiert – ganz bequem per eMail.