Helpful communications during the diagnostic period: an interpretive description of patient preferences

Authors


  • Funding Source: Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant # 74545.

Sally Thorne, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, T201-2211 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 2B5 (e-mail: sally.thorne@nursing.ubc.ca).

Abstract

THORNE S., OLIFFE J., KIM-SING C., HISLOP T.G., STAJDUHAR K., HARRIS S.R., ARMSTRONG E.-A. & OGLOV V. (2010) European Journal of Cancer Care19, 746–754
Helpful communications during the diagnostic period: an interpretive description of patient preferences

With a diagnosis of cancer, life changes for patients in a profound manner. The window of time known as cancer diagnosis is one of considerable turbulence and distress for patients. Therefore, diagnosis constitutes a time during which communication with healthcare professionals is of particular importance in setting the stage for the way cancer illness will be experienced. Our research explores communications throughout the cancer trajectory from the perspective of patients themselves. We are following a sample of 60 cancer patients, representing a range of tumour sites, from the early diagnostic period through to recovery, chronic, or advanced disease. Using interpretive description analysis techniques, we document patterns and themes related to various components of the cancer journey. In this paper, we focus on themes related to perceived helpful communication during the diagnosis experience as reported by our study participants both at the time of being newly diagnosed patients, and as they reflect on that period 12 months later. These findings illuminate experiential issues of importance to patients in relation to cancer care communication and the manner in which helpful communications during this sensitive time may facilitate the subsequent experience living with and obtaining care for cancer.

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