Case 4 – Breaking Bad News

You are seeing Mr. Ozuka, a patient undergoing chemotherapy for advanced prostate cancer. You have recently performed tests which show that his tumor has progressed to an incurable stage. You estimate his life expectancy to be approximately 6 months. You have called him into your office today in order to disclose the results of these tests.


  • Determines current state of patient’s illness.
  • Determines whether patient wants to hear the test results (patient would like to know results)
  • Asks whether patient would like a family member or friend to be present
  • Prepares patient before disclosing the results
  • Provides diagnosis in a straightforward manner
  • Conveys information with brevity and simplicity, avoids using medical jargon
  • Establishes the impact of the news on the patient
  • Asks about patient’s goals of care
  • Asks patient about need for home support
  • Asks patient about need for spiritual support
  • Asks patient about need for financial support
  • Inquires about patient’s end-of-life goals
  • Uses appropriate tone of voice
  • Uses appropriate level of language
  • Uses appropriate body language
  • Respects patient’s personal space
  • Ensures patient’s privacy
  • Displays empathy and provides emotional support to patient
  • Handles patient’s questions well
  • Ensures patient’s understanding of the information
  • Allows patient to express concerns
  • Summarizes interview
Case 4 – Breaking Bad News