Changing communication needs and preferences across the cancer care trajectory: insights from the patient perspective

Support Care Cancer. 2014 Apr;22(4):1009-15. doi: 10.1007/s00520-013-2056-4. Epub 2013 Nov 28.


Purpose: In this program of research, we sought to expand our understanding of how cancer patients' communication needs and preferences change across the course of their illness trajectory. To address known limitations in the empirical knowledge base, we designed a study capitalizing on representative patient reports as they occurred within time and across experience obtaining care for this disease.

Methods: We used a longitudinal cohort design informed by interpretive description methodology to follow 125 patients over a multi-year period as they reflected on their ongoing experiences with cancer care communication.

Results: In relation to each phase of their cancer care trajectory, patients identified tension points and contextual challenges impinging on what they felt constituted helpful and unhelpful patient-provider communication.

Conclusions: Findings from this study create a dynamic portrait of how we can better inform communication approaches and interventions through interpretations of population knowledge and individual experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / therapy