Nondisclosure of a cancer diagnosis and prognosis: Recommendations for future research and practice

Indian J Cancer. Apr-Jun 2021;58(2):158-164. doi: 10.4103/ijc.IJC_740_19.


Nondisclosure of a cancer diagnosis and prognosis is a common practice in many family-centric cultures wherein cancer is viewed negatively, resulting in family carers opposing truthful communication to patients. Oncologists comply with this request for diagnosis and/or prognosis nondisclosure owing to the cultural milieu, often choosing to describe the disease in less threatening terms such as "tumor" or "fever." This review provides a snapshot of existing research exploring diagnosis and prognosis disclosure and nondisclosure from the perspectives of the oncologists, family carers, and the patient with a particular focus on the psychological outcomes for patients who are aware versus not aware of their diagnosis and/or prognosis. Further, this review makes recommendations for future research and practice in cancer diagnosis and prognosis communication in India (e.g., communication skills training for family carers and healthcare providers).

Keywords: Cancer; diagnosis; nondisclosure; prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review