Communication Challenges Among Oncologists in Mexico uri icon


  • © 2020, American Association for Cancer Education.Communication challenges related to the delivery of bad news are present in oncologists¿ daily practice. Hence, communication skills are essential for clinicians to handle these situations as appropriately and compassionately as possible. The aim of this study was to identify Mexican oncologists¿ perceptions on the most important and hardest issues to discuss with patients and their families, as well as the challenges they most commonly encounter when communicating bad news. Physicians from various oncology centers were invited to anonymously complete an electronical survey designed by our multidisciplinary oncology team. Statistical analysis was performed with the SPSS software v25; descriptive statistics were used for the analysis of the survey¿s answers. In total, 115 physicians were included; most were medical oncologists. Treatment objectives and prognosis were the topics most of them considered relevant to address; while end-of-life care and treatment objectives were the hardest ones to discuss. The most difficult challenges they faced when breaking bad news were being honest without taking away hope and dealing with patients¿ emotions. Remarkably, we detected a lack of training in delivering bad news to patients among our participants, as a minority of them had formal training in the matter. However, most desired to receive communication skills training and believed a session of 2¿5 h would be sufficient. Mexican oncologists face diverse communication challenges when disclosing bad news to patients. Our findings reveal an opportunity to develop formal training programs tailored for Mexican oncologists and to ultimately improve outcomes and patient-centered care.

Publication date

  • January 1, 2020