International Journal of Hematology-Oncology and Stem Cell Research 2017. 11(3):178-184.

Attitudes toward Telling the Truth to Cancer Patients in Iran: A Review Article
Ali Karimi Rosveh, Reza Nabi Amjad, Javad Karimi Rosveh, Davood Rasouli


Background: Patientsgenerallyhave the right to be informed of their condition,but the debate over the issue of truth disclosure is still present. The attempt of this study is to review the approaches toward truth- telling to cancer patients in Iran.

Materials and Methods:  This study is a narrative review that included articles published in Iran on attitudes toward telling the truth to cancer patients. The present study extracted data from articles published in PubMed, Science Direct, Scientific Information Database (SID), Magiran, Iran Medex, Google Scholar, Iranian Research Institute for Information Science and Technology with key terms such as truth disclosure, breaking bad news, death awareness and disclosure of diagnosis without any time restriction.

Results: Totally, 21 articles including 14 in English and 7 in Persian were selected and reviewed. The results of the study have shown that although treatment team and caregivers are unwilling to disclose the truth to patients, they have a tendency to obtain more information about their disease.

Conclusion: As the incidence of cancer has increased worldwide, telling the truth to patients seeking more information about cancer disease would be inevitable, but more studies are required to provide scientific procedures based on evidence for truth disclosure, not the whole, to cancer patients.


Telling the truth, Cancer patient, Breaking bad news, Review article, Iran

Full Text:



Davies E. The patient's right to know the truth. Proc R Soc Med. 1973;66(6):533-6.

Shahidi J. Not telling the truth: circumstances leading to concealment of diagnosis and prognosis from cancer patients. Eur J Cancer Care. 2010;19(5):589-93.

Zahedi F, Larijani B, Bazzaz JT. End of life ethical Issues and Islamic views. Iran J Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2007;6(Supplement 5):5-15.

Audrey S, Abel J, Blazeby JM, et al. What oncologists tell patients about survival benefits of palliative chemotherapy and implications for informed consent: qualitative study. Bmj. 2008;337:a752.

Farhat F, Othman A, El Baba G, et al. Revealing a cancer diagnosis to patients: attitudes of patients, families, friends, nurses, and physicians in Lebanon—results of a cross-sectional study. Curr Oncol. 2015;22(4):e264–e272.

Zahedi F. The challenge of truth telling across cultures: a case study. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 2011;4:11.

Tarighat Saber GAZ, SA Etemadi, A Mohammadi, et al. Assessment Of Knowledge And Satifaction Of Information Given In Cancer Patients Referred To Imam Khomeini Hospital 1382-1383 And Its Assossiation With Anxiety and Depression In These Patients. Tehran Univ Med J. 2006;64(2):165-71.

Shaw J, Brown R, Heinrich P, et al. Doctors’ experience of stress during simulated bad news consultations. Patient Educ Couns. 2013;93(2):203-8.

Sheu SJ, Huang SH, Tang FI, et al. Ethical decision making on truth telling in terminal cancer: medical students' choices between patient autonomy and family paternalism. Med Educ. 2006;40(6):590-8.

Lashkarizadeh MAJ, Jahanbakhsh F, Samareh MF, et al. Views of cancer patients on revealing diagnosis and information to them. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 2012;5(4):65-74.

Ghazanfari Z KM, Karvar M, Pooryazdanpanah N. Nurses and physicians attitude toward truth-telling to cancer patients. Journal of School of Razi Nursing and Midwifery. 2014;1(1):30-6.

Izadia AM, Esmaeil A, EhsaniR S. Nurses’ experiences regarding truth telling: a phenomenological study. J MedEthicsHist Med. 2013;6(1):53-63.

Zamani A, Shahsanai A, Kivan S, et al. Iranian Physicians and Patients Attitude toward Truth Telling of Cancer. Journal of Isfahan Medical School. 2011;29(143).

Kazemi A, Poorsoleimani A,Fakhari A, et al. Truth telling in medicine: views of Tabriz University of Medical Sciences. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 2010;3(2):54-63.

Valizadeh L, Zamanzadeh V, Sayadi L, et al. Truth-telling and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: Iranian nurses' experiences. Nurs Ethics. 2014;21(5):518-29.

Beyraghi N, Mottaghipour Y, Mehraban A, et al. Disclosure of Cancer Information in Iran: a Perspective of Patients, Family Members, and Health Professionals. Iran J Cancer Prev. 2011;4(3):130-4.

Joibari L, SarafiKh S, Sanagoo A. Nursing experience of breaking bad news to patient’s caregivers. Medical Etics. 2013;7(24):11-31.

Bagherian S, Dargahi H, Abaszadeh A. The attitude of nursing staff of institute cancer and Valie-Asr hospital toward caring for dying patients.Journal of qualitative Research in Health Sciences. 2010;9(1):8-14.

Tavakol M, Murphy R, Torabi S. Educating Doctors about Breaking Bad News: An Iranian Perspective. J Cancer Educ. 2008;23(4):260-3.

Surbone A. Telling the truth to patients with cancer: what is the truth? Lancet Oncol. 2006;7(11):944-50.

Motlagh A, Mafi AR, Hemati S, et al. Attitude of cancer patients toward diagnosis disclosure and their preference for clinical decision-making: a national survey. Arch Iran Med. 2014;17(4):232.Doi: 014174/AIM.004

Arbabi M, Rozdar A, Taher M, et al. Patients’ preference to hear cancer diagnosis. Iran J Psychiatry. 2014;9(1):8.

Rezaei O, Sima A, Masafi S, et al . Identifying Appropriate Methods of Diagnosis Disclosure and Physician- Patient Communication Pattern among Cancer Patients in Iranian Society. Int Res J Biological Sci. 2014;3(6):47-52.

Faridhosseini F, Ardestani MS, Shirkhani F. Disclosure of cancer diagnosis: what Iranian patients do prefer?.Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2010;9(S1): p. S165

Shahidi J, Taghizadeh-Kermani A, Yahyazadeh S, et al. Truth-telling to cancer patients from relatives’ point of view: A multi-centre study in Iran. Austral-Asian Journal of Cancer. 2007;6(4):213-17.

Dégi CL. Non-disclosure of cancer diagnosis: an examination of personal, medical, and psychosocial factors. Support Care Cancer. 2009; 17(8):1101-7

Valizadeh L, Zamanzadeh V, Rahmani A, et al. Cancer disclosure: experiences of Iranian cancer patients. Nursing &Health Sciences. 2012;14(2):250-6.

Montazeri A, Hole DJ, Milroy R, et al. Does knowledge of cancer diagnosis affect quality of life? A methodological challenge.BMC Cancer. 2004;4(1):21.

Seyedrasooly A, Rahmani A, Zamanzadeh V, et al. Association between perception of prognosis and spiritual well-being among cancer patients. J Caring Sci. 2014;3(1):47.

Ghavamzadeh A, Bahar B. Communication with the cancer patient in Iran. Information and truth. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1997; 20(809):261-5.

Montazeri A, Tavoli A, Mohagheghi MA, et al. Disclosure of cancer diagnosis and quality of life in cancer patients: should it be the same everywhere?.BMC Cancer. 2009;9(1):39.

Husson O, Mols F, Van de Poll-Franse L. The relation between information provision and health-related quality of life, anxiety and depression among cancer survivors: a systematic review. Ann Oncol. 2011;22(4):761-72.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.