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Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative
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David Kissane, Barry Bultz, Phyllis Butow, and Ilora Finlay

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199238361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199238361.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 October 2021

Breaking bad news

Breaking bad news

(p.101) Chapter 9 Breaking bad news
Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care

Walter F Baile

Patricia A Parker

Oxford University Press

The importance of the topic of ‘breaking bad news’ to cancer patients is underscored by a recent Medline search, which revealed close to 500 articles published on this subject in the past ten years, and by the fact that the cancer clinician is likely to give bad news many thousands of times during the course of his or her career. Paradoxically, however, despite the argument for its importance, very few training programmes in oncology thoroughly cover the topic and provide adequate learning experiences for trainees. Only a minority of oncologists have formal training in breaking bad news and other key communication skills. This chapter reviews the concept of breaking bad news, highlighting salient points and controversies in the literature and making training recommendations. It considers a definition of bad news, why the topic is so important, the challenges to clinicians in breaking bad news, protocols for giving bad news, research on bad news disclosure, and directions for the future.

Keywords:   bad news, communication skills, protocols, clinicians, training, oncology, cancer patients, disclosure

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