Purpose: Despite a recent increase in the attention given to improving communication when disclosing bad news to cancer patients, understanding of good patient-physician communication is still lacking in Japan. The aim of the present study is to describe attributes of good communication with patients receiving bad news about cancer in Japan.
Methods: Forty-nine participants, including 42 cancer patients and seven oncologists, were requested to undergo an in-depth interview, and the data obtained were qualitatively analyzed.
Results: Seventy-one attributes of good communication with patients receiving bad news about cancer were obtained from 619 opinions, and classified into four domains. (1)
Setting: a private room and sufficient time. (2) Information given: impact on daily activities and alternative therapy. (3) Method of disclosure: facilitation of patient understanding. (4) Emotional support: encouragement and allowing expression of emotions.
Conclusions: The four domains of good patient-physician communication in Japan are apparently similar to those in Western countries. The domain involving information given and method of disclosure in previous Western studies was further divided into two domains in the present study. Japanese physicians should perhaps pay careful attention to these issues when disclosing bad news about cancer. There are some cultural differences related to the details of communication attributes (e.g. using euphemisms and showing consideration for the patient's family).
Copyright (c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.