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Breaking Bad News During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review of the Literature

HumanInsight Breaking Bad News During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review of the Literature

Anticancer Res. 2023 Feb;43(2):773-779. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.16217.


The aim of the present review was to extend research by reviewing international research regarding the communication between oncologists and oncology patients and the communication of bad news to oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the PRISMA guidelines a review of the literature was performed by searching PubMed, Scopus, and EMBASE bibliographic databases from inception to October 10, 2022. The search was limited to articles written in English. Two reviewers independently completed title and abstract, full-text screening, and data extraction. A total of five studies were deemed eligible for this systematic review. A narrative synthesis was undertaken. Of these five articles, three referred to the communication of bad news to patients by medical oncologists during the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas the remaining two referred to the transmission of bad news to patients by surgeons during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures imposed caused radical changes in the forms of communication in medical environments. The challenges faced by the oncologist in breaking bad news to cancer patients are highlighted in this systematic review, and the need for physician preparation prior to communication with the patient is emphasized. Overall, new studies are needed on the effects of distance communication on both health professionals and patients. New studies are also needed that would explore the perceptions of physicians and patients in Greece.

PMID:36697067 | DOI:10.21873/anticanres.16217

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