Breaking bad news in ethnic settings: perspectives of patients and families in Northern Sri Lanka

Rajasooriyar, Chrishanthi, Kelly, Jenny, Sivakumar, Thanikai, Navanesan, Gowcikan, Nadarasa, Shahini, Sriskandarajah, Madona Hashanthy, and Sabesan, Sabe (2017) Breaking bad news in ethnic settings: perspectives of patients and families in Northern Sri Lanka. Journal of Global Oncology, 3 (3). pp. 250-256.

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Purpose: The discussion of a cancer diagnosis and prognosis often is difficult. This study explored the expectations of Tamil-speaking patients with cancer and their families with respect to receiving their cancer diagnosis in northern Sri Lanka.

Methods: This exploratory, descriptive, qualitative study used semistructured interviews.

Results: Thematic analysis identified two major themes: communication and information seeking. The findings illustrate a discrepancy between patient preference for direct disclosure of the diagnosis and that of families. Ninety-five percent of patients wanted medical staff to disclose their cancer diagnosis, whereas only 45% of family members believed that the diagnosis should be disclosed to the patient rather than to the family.

Conclusion: Although patients and their family members' views and expectations of the disclosure of diagnosis and prognosis differ, a majority of patients want to be told directly about their diagnosis rather than to learn of it from a relative. The findings are similar to the literature on other ethnic groups from Sri Lanka and studies from English-speaking developed countries. Therefore, the main questions are how to educate families and physicians about the benefits of open disclosure to patients and how to change culture. Results of this study along with a previous study call for the development of strategies and guidelines to improve societal views, educate patients and families, and train health professionals in the area of breaking bad news and discussing prognosis in the Sri Lankan setting.

Item ID: 45171
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2378-9506
Additional Information:

© 2016 by American Society of Clinical Oncology. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2016 02:34
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3211 Oncology and carcinogenesis > 321102 Cancer diagnosis @ 34%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3211 Oncology and carcinogenesis > 321199 Oncology and carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified @ 33%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420399 Health services and systems not elsewhere classified @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920102 Cancer and Related Disorders @ 34%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 33%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939999 Education and Training not elsewhere classified @ 33%
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