Breaking bad medical news is a complex task of clinical practice. The manner in which this is done has a significant impact on patients. This study aimed to assess patient’s perceptions regarding oral and oropharyngeal cancer diagnosis disclosure according to the “SPIKES” protocol.
This cross-sectional study used a questionnaire with 21 SPIKES-based items. The questionnaire was administered to 100 patients with recently diagnosed oral and oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who evaluated each item according to their preference and experience.
Nineteen items showed a significant difference between patient’s preference and recalled experience. Eighteen of these items showed lower experience scores primarily related to the amount of information desired by patients, presence of a companion, time to express feelings, and summary of information. Most patients preferred receiving as much information as possible about the diagnosis. However, only 35% reported that they had obtained sufficient information. Patients who were aware of cancer diagnostic suspicion had better communication experiences.
Protocols may be useful to guide health professionals to support patient-centered strategies to disclose oral cancer diagnoses.

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