Patients' communication preferences for receiving a cancer diagnosis: Differences depending on cancer stage

Soo Hyun Kim, Jong Heun Kim, Eun Jung Shim, Bong Jin Hahm, Eun Seung Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study aimed to identify communication preferences for receiving a cancer diagnosis in South Korean patients and explore differences depending on cancer stage—with or without recurrence/metastasis. Methods: A total of 312 patients from five cancer centers in South Korea completed the Korean version of the Measure of Patients' Preferences questionnaire, Mini-Mental Adjustment to Cancer scale, Insomnia Severity Index, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Results: Among patients without recurrence/metastasis, four factors were indicated: “additional information,” “medical information,” “emotional support,” and “supportive environment.” Among patients with recurrence/metastasis, five factors were indicated: “medical information and explanation,” “emotional support,” “supportive environment,” “additional information,” and “informing family.” In the group without recurrence/metastasis, a positive attitude was a significant predictor of the preference for all four factors and a lower anxiety level was a predictor of the preference for additional information. Patients who reported a high level of anxious preoccupation preferred supportive environments. In the group with recurrence/metastasis, patients who showed a high level of cognitive avoidance preferred to receive medical and additional information and emotional support. Conclusions: Cancer patients' preferences for communication when receiving bad news differ whether recurrence/metastasis or not in South Korea. Especially, patients with recurrence/metastasis preferred a clear explanation of medical information, and physicians informing patients' families about their diagnosis and prognosis. Thus, physicians should take patients' medical and psychological characteristics into consideration when delivering the news regarding their condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1540-1548
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • cancer patients' preferences
  • cancer stage
  • communication
  • patient-physician relationship
  • psycho-oncology
  • receiving cancer diagnosis


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