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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 15

of 'Discussing serious news'

Breaking Bad News in Oncology: A Metasynthesis.
Bousquet G, Orri M, Winterman S, Brugière C, Verneuil L, Revah-Levy A
J Clin Oncol. 2015 Aug;33(22):2437-43. Epub 2015 Jun 29.
PURPOSE: The delivery of bad news by oncologists to their patients is a key moment in the physician-patient relationship. We performed a systematic review of qualitative studies (a metasynthesis) that focused on the experiences and points of view of oncologists about breaking bad news to patients.
METHODS: We searched international publications to identify relevant qualitative research exploring oncologists' perspectives about this topic. Thematic analysis, which compensates for the potential lack of generalizability of the primary studies by their conjoint interpretation, was used to identify key themes and synthesize them. NVivoqualitative analysis software was used.
RESULTS: We identified 40 articles (>600 oncologists) from 12 countries and assessed their quality as good according to the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP). Two main themes emerged: the patient-oncologist encounter during the breaking of bad news, comprising essential aspects of the communication, including the process of dealing with emotions; and external factors shaping the patient-oncologist encounter, composed of factors that influence the announcement beyond the physician-patient relationship: the family, systemic and institutional factors, and cultural factors.
CONCLUSION: Breaking bad news is a balancing act that requires oncologists to adapt continually to different factors: their individual relationships with the patient, the patient's family, the institutional and systemic environment, and the cultural milieu. Extending the development of the ability to personalize and adapt therapeutic treatment to this realm of communications would be a major step forward from the stereotyped way that oncologists are currently trained in communication skills.
Guilhem Bousquet, UniversitéParis Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité; Guilhem Bousquet, AP-HP-Hôpital Saint-Louis; Massimiliano Orri and Anne Revah-Levy, INSERM U1178; Massimiliano Orri and Anne Revah-Levy, UniversitéParis Sud and UniversitéParis Descartes, Paris; Massimiliano Orri, Universitéde la Picardie Jules Vernes, CRP-CPO, Beauvais; Sabine Winterman, Institut de Radiothérapie des Hautes Energies; AP-HP-Hôptial Avicenne, Bobigny; Charlotte Brugière and Laurence Verneuil, CHU Caen; Charlotte Brugière and Laurence Verneuil, Universitéde Caen Basse-Normandie Medical School, Caen; and Anne Revah-Levy, Hôpital d'Argenteuil, Argenteuil, France. guilhem.bousquet@sls.aphp.fr.