The experience of patients with cancer during diagnosis and treatment planning: a descriptive study of Canadian survey results

  • A.C. Coronado Canadian Partnership Against Cancer,
  • K. Tran Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
  • J. Chadder Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
  • J. Niu Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
  • S. Fung Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
  • C. Louzado Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
  • R. Rahal Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
  • in collaboration with the System Performance Steering Committee and the Technical Working Group
Keywords: Cancer diagnosis, patient experiences, treatment planning, communication, Canadian health system



Communication with health care providers during diagnosis and treatment planning is of special importance because it can influence a patient’s emotional state, attitude, and decisions about their care. Qualitative evidence suggests that some patients experience poor communication with health care providers and have negative experiences when receiving their cancer diagnosis. Here, we use survey data from 8 provinces to present findings about the experiences of Canadian patients, specifically with respect to patient–provider communication, during the diagnosis and treatment planning phases of their cancer care.


Data from the Ambulatory Oncology Patient Satisfaction Survey, representing 17,809 survey respondents, were obtained for the study.


Most respondents (92%) felt that their care provider told them of their cancer diagnosis in a sensitive manner. Most respondents (95%) also felt that they were provided with enough information about their planned cancer treatment. In contrast, more than half the respondents who had emotional concerns upon diagnosis (56%) were not referred to services that could help with their anxieties and fears. Also, 18% of respondents reported that they were not given the opportunity to discuss treatment options with a care provider, and 17% reported that their care providers did not consider their travel concerns while planning for treatment.


Measuring the patient experience allows for an understanding of how well the cancer control system is addressing the physical, emotional, and practical needs of patients during diagnosis and treatment planning. Although results suggest high levels of patient satisfaction with some aspects of care, quality improvement efforts are still needed to provide person-centred care.

How to Cite
Coronado, A., Tran, K., Chadder, J., Niu, J., Fung, S., Louzado, C., Rahal, R., & and the Technical Working Group, in collaboration with the S. P. S. C. (2017). The experience of patients with cancer during diagnosis and treatment planning: a descriptive study of Canadian survey results. Current Oncology, 24(5), 332-337.
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