Patient-Clinician Communication: American Society of Clinical Oncology Consensus Guideline

J Clin Oncol. 2017 Nov 1;35(31):3618-3632. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2017.75.2311. Epub 2017 Sep 11.


Purpose To provide guidance to oncology clinicians on how to use effective communication to optimize the patient-clinician relationship, patient and clinician well-being, and family well-being. Methods ASCO convened a multidisciplinary panel of medical oncology, psychiatry, nursing, hospice and palliative medicine, communication skills, health disparities, and advocacy experts to produce recommendations. Guideline development involved a systematic review of the literature and a formal consensus process. The systematic review focused on guidelines, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials published from 2006 through October 1, 2016. Results The systematic review included 47 publications. With the exception of clinician training in communication skills, evidence for many of the clinical questions was limited. Draft recommendations underwent two rounds of consensus voting before being finalized. Recommendations In addition to providing guidance regarding core communication skills and tasks that apply across the continuum of cancer care, recommendations address specific topics, such as discussion of goals of care and prognosis, treatment selection, end-of-life care, facilitating family involvement in care, and clinician training in communication skills. Recommendations are accompanied by suggested strategies for implementation. Additional information is available at and .

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication*
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology / standards*
  • Professional-Patient Relations*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic