Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp 841–847

Ways to obtain a breast cancer diagnosis, consistency of information, patient satisfaction, and the presence of relatives


  • Henning Brake
    • Medical Sociology UnitHannover Medical School
  • Heike Saßmann
    • Medical Psychology UnitHannover Medical School
  • Dorothee Noeres
    • Medical Sociology UnitHannover Medical School
  • Mechthild Neises
    • Psychosomatic Gynaecology UnitHannover Medical School
    • Medical Sociology UnitHannover Medical School
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00520-006-0195-6

Cite this article as:
Brake, H., Saßmann, H., Noeres, D. et al. Support Care Cancer (2007) 15: 841. doi:10.1007/s00520-006-0195-6


Goals of work

What physicians told breast cancer patients about their diagnosis, who informed them, and how this information was conveyed were examined in this study. Finally, the relatives’ role in this communication process was considered.

Materials and methods

Women with primary breast cancer (N = 222) below the age of 70 were interviewed after surgery and after they were informed about their diagnosis.

Main results

One hundred twenty-one women consulted their primary gynecologist first, then they were referred to a radiologist, and finally to the secondary care gynecologist. Forty-seven women omitted the radiologist and only five went directly to the hospital for treatment. In most cases (N = 199), the general practitioner was not involved. Receiving inconsistent information was associated with patient dissatisfaction. This also applies to women who received their diagnosis on the phone. Women awaiting a worse diagnosis were more likely to be accompanied by another person.


Future studies should focus on the possible involvement of family doctors and relatives during the diagnostic process. Giving inconsistent information should be avoided.


Cancer diagnosisInformationConsistencyHealth care utilizationRelativesPatient’s satisfaction

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007