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HOW DO PATIENTS SHARE NEWS OF A CANCER DIAGNOSIS WITH FAMILY/FRIENDS; NEW UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE PROCESS AFTER BAD NEWS HAS BEEN BROKEN
  1. G Ewing1,
  2. N Ngwenya2,
  3. M Farquhar3,
  4. J Benson3,
  5. D Gilligan4,
  6. J Seymour5 and
  7. S Bailey6
  1. 1Centre for Family Research, University of Cambridge
  2. 2University College London Hospital
  3. 3 Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge
  4. 4 Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  5. 5 School of Health Sciences, University of Nottingham
  6. 6 East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust

Abstract

The study was funded by a grant from Dimbleby Cancer Care.

Introduction Extensive research exists on how bad news is broken by physicians to patients, but little is known about the subsequent stage: when patients face the difficult task of sharing this news with family members and friends.

Aim(s) To understand the experience of sharing news of a lung cancer diagnosis with wider family members and friends to inform a supportive intervention to prepare patients for sharing bad news.

Methods Qualitative interviews with 20 patients with lung cancer and 17 family members/friends present at diagnosis-giving to explore experiences of receiving their diagnosis and how news was shared with wider family/friends.Thematic framework analysis was conducted.

Results Three key findings: (1) sharing bad news happened over time, at any point along the illness trajectory—it was a process, not a discrete event;

(2) timing of sharing bad news was very individual—people needed to feel ready to share their diagnosis and had to prepare themselves to do so;

(3) regardless of when news was shared it had consequences in terms of the reactions of those told, which required managing. Illustrative timelines of processes of early and later sharing of bad news will be presented.

Conclusion(s) Understanding sharing bad news as a process which happens over time is a significant finding for design and delivery of a supportive intervention. Preparing patients to share news of a lung cancer diagnosis, which often presents at an advanced stage, is highly relevant for future palliative care delivery.

  • Supportive care

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