Methods of communicating a primary diagnosis of breast cancer to patients

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Background: The method of delivering a diagnosis of breast cancer to women has the potential to impact on their level of interpretation, patient recall and satisfaction. Objectives: To assess the effectiveness of different methods when used to communicate a primary diagnosis of breast cancer to women. Search strategy: We searched the Cochrane Breast Cancer Group Specialised Register on 7 September 2006, Cochrane Consumers and Communication Group on 27 October 2006, MEDLINE (1966 to present), CINAHL (1982 to present), EMBASE OVID (1980 to present), British Nursing Index (Jan 1984 to present), PsycInfo (1967 to present), Dissertation Abstracts International (2004 to 2006), Library and Info Science Abstracts (LISA) (1969 to present), ISI Web of Knowledge (conference abstracts) and reference lists of articles. Selection criteria: We sought randomised controlled trials of women with a histologically confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer being given a diagnosis of primary breast cancer. Trials should also have used one or more of the following methods; face-to-face consultations, written information, telephone consultation, audio or video tapes of consultation. Data collection and analysis: Two review authors independently assessed trials for inclusion in the review. Studies were to be assessed using standardised data extraction and quality assessment forms. Main results: The search strategies identified 2847 citations overall. A total of 30 citations appeared relevant however there were three duplicates which left 27 articles for further review. Articles reporting the same primary data accounted for 6 of the publications Brown 1997; Brown 1998; Brown 1999; Brown 2000; Hack 2000; Hack 2003 which left 23 original papers to be reviewed for inclusion. Of these, none met the inclusion criteria. Data extraction and assessment of methodological quality was therefore not possible. Authors' conclusions: The review question remains unanswered as there were no randomised trials of methods of communicating a diagnosis of breast cancer to women. The authors have considered the possible reasons for the lack of research studies in this area and have considered that it is perhaps unethical to randomise women at such a vulnerable time such as waiting for a diagnosis. The design of ethically sensitive research to examine this topic needs to be explored to inform future practice. As some papers reviewed by the authors related to the first consultation visit, where treatment options are discussed, perhaps a review which focused on the methods of communication at the first consultation visit would provide more reliable evidence for the effectiveness of methods of communication and overcome the ethical dilemmas previously mentioned. Copyright © 2008 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.




Lockhart, K., Dosser, I., Cruickshank, S., & Kennedy, C. (2007). Methods of communicating a primary diagnosis of breast cancer to patients. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.

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