|Author(s)||Francesca Alby, Cristina Zucchermaglio, Marilena Fatigante|
|Title||Communicating uncertain news in cancer consultations|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Cancer, News delivery, Medical, Italian|
|Journal||Journal of Cancer Education|
In cancer communication, most of the literature is in the realm of delivering bad news while much less attention has been given to the communication of uncertain news around the diagnosis and the possible outcomes of the illness. Drawing on video-recorded cancer consultations collected in two Italian hospitals, this article analyzes three communication practices used by oncologists to interactionally manage the uncertainty during the visit: alternating between uncertain bad news and certain good news, anticipating scenarios, and guessing test results. Both diagnostic and personal uncertainties are not hidden to the patient, yet they are reduced through these practices. Such communication practices are present in 32 % of the visits in the data set, indicating that the interactional management of uncertainty is a relevant phenomenon in oncological encounters. Further studies are needed to improve both its understanding and its teaching.