Overcoming cultural barriers to giving bad news: Feasibility of training to promote truth-telling to cancer patients

Anna Costantini, Walter F. Baile, Renato Lenzi, Massimo Costantini, Vincenzo Ziparo, Paolo Marchetti, Luigi Grassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background. In many countries, physicians are reluctant to disclose unfavorable medical information to patients with advanced cancer and instead give the bad news to the family. Methods. The authors modified standard communication workshops to help Italian senior oncologists overcome cultural, social, and attitudinal barriers to disclosure of diagnosis and prognosis. Results. Fifty-seven physicians participated; 88% believed the workshops would improve their medical practice. Many pursued further training and organized communication skills programs of their own. Conclusions. Communication skills workshops can be modified to meet educational and social norms and help clinicians acquire the interpersonal skills needed for honest communication with patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-185
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Oncology

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