Breaking bad news in Oncology: An observer’s point of view
Keywords:bad news, oncology, SPIKES protocol, hospice, palliative care, ethics
Learning how to break bad news is vital in oncology. Physicians should assess patients’ understanding of their illnesses before proceeding with the conversation. Questions on chances of survival on different treatment options should be answered with the least amount of bias while maintaining an effective balance between hope and prognosis and stressing the individuality of treatment response. Practice empathy in the conversation and understand that each patient is different. Make sure to address any questions patients might have and offer to be available for any further questions. Breaking bad news is a delicate art that requires a lot of practice. Seek to improve this skill with each patient interaction.