Preferences of cancer patients regarding the disclosure of bad news

Maiko Fujimori, Tatsuo Akechi, Tatsuya Morita, Masatoshi Inagaki, Nobuya Akizuki, Yuji Sakano, Yosuke Uchitomi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


To understand patients' preferences regarding the disclosure of bad news is important in the clinical oncology setting. The aim of this study was to clarify descriptively the preferences of cancer patients. Five hundred and twenty-nine Japanese cancer outpatients were surveyed regarding their preferences regarding the disclosure of bad news, and several psychosocial and medical demographic variables were analyzed. In a descriptive analysis, more than 90% of the patients strongly preferred to discuss their current medical condition and treatment options with their physician and to have their physicians take the feelings of their family into consideration as well. While half of the patients preferred to receive information regarding their life expectancy, 30% preferred not to receive it. Multiple regression analyses indicated the preferences showing interindividual variations were associated with the level of education and the mental adjustment to cancer scores. A factor analysis revealed four preferences factors: method of disclosure of the bad news, provision of emotional support, provision of additional information, and setting. These four factors had good internal consistency reliability (Cronbach's alpha = 0.93-0.77). Providing emotional support, including the desire for the physician to show consideration for the patient's family, and understanding an individual's communication preferences may be useful for promoting patient-physician communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-581
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bad news
  • Cancer
  • Communication
  • Patient-physician relationship
  • Patients' preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Oncology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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