Handbook of Communication in Oncology and Palliative Care

David W. Kissane, Barry D. Bultz, Phyllis N. Butow, Ilora G. Finlay

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11 Citations (Scopus)


This book provides clinicians with practical and evidence-based guidelines to achieve effective, patient-centred communication in the areas of cancer and palliative care. It breaks communication down into key modules that cover the life-cycle of cancer care and includes coverage of diagnosis and treatment including clinical trials, empathic support in response to distress, transition to survivorship or palliative therapies, discussion of prognosis, conduct of family meetings, and care of the dying. Complementary training of cancer patients in their communication with the doctor completes the interactive dyad. The art of teaching, impact of gender and power in the consultation and the ethical context are carefully considered. Special communication challenges include discussion of genetic risk, rehabilitative and salvage surgery, promotion of treatment adherence, unanticipated adverse outcomes, intercultural issues, and fertility and sexuality. The value of decision aides, question prompt lists, audio-recording of consultations and use of the internet is illustrated. Theoretical models are examined from the medical school to the highly specialized practice, facilitation training and actor training are made explicit, and international approaches to communication skills training are compared and contrasted. Finally, research tools that assist in coding cancer consultations, evaluating training courses, and employing mixed methods in studies aid the reader in providing clear and sensitive communication when handling challenging situations whilst treating cancer sufferers and palliative care patients.

Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
Number of pages776
ISBN (Electronic)9780191730290
ISBN (Print)9780199238361
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Clinical trials
  • Diagnosis
  • Intercultural issues
  • Palliative care
  • Patient-centred communication
  • Salvage surgery
  • Sexuality
  • Training
  • Treatment adherence

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