Above and beyond: an exploratory study of breast cancer patient accounts of healthcare provider information-giving practices and informational support

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Andrea L. Meluch *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Andrea L. Meluch | ameluch@iusb.edu


This qualitative study examines breast cancer patients’ accounts of the characteristics of healthcare providers’ supportive information- giving practices. Twenty-two women diagnosed with breast cancer participated in semi-structured in-depth interviews designed to understand their experiences receiving supportive information from healthcare providers (e.g., oncologists, surgeons, nurse practitioners). Participants’ accounts suggest that providers who spend extensive time discussing cancer-related information and who explain that information thoroughly so that patients can understand their medical situation, are communicating informational support in contrast to merely presenting factual information related to cancer diagnosis and treatments. Participant accounts further suggest that the supportive nature of provider information-giving practices results from message framing, or the provider’s metacommunication.

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