Disclosure of breast cancer diagnosis: Patient and physician reports

P. Mosconi, B. E. Meyerowitz, M. C. Liberati, A. Liberati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although there is considerable controversy about what information regarding the diagnosis of cancer is most helpful to patients in meeting their psychological and medical needs, little research exists on what patients who are treated in non-specialized institutions are told about their diagnosis and treatment. We assessed the information that breast cancer patients received about their diagnosis from the perspective of both the patient and the physician, in order to determine whether they agree in their perception of communication, and whether the nature of the patient-physician communication is associated with patient satisfaction. Questionnaires were completed by 1171 Italian breast cancer patients (representing a 81.5% response rate) and their physicians at the time of surgery for breast cancer. Only a minority of patients (47%) reported having been told that they had cancer. Satisfaction with information was highest among women who had been told the diagnosis. Patient and physician reports of what information was conveyed about the diagnosis differed for over half of patients, with highest satisfaction levels reported when both patient and physician stated that the diagnosis had been conveyed. While comparison of patient and physician reports should not be used to validate either source of information, the degree of patient-physician disagreement found in this research may alert physicians to potential difficulties that can arise in communicating with cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Hematology


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