The doctor-patient relationship in oncology: a study from the patient’s perspective

Abstract The peculiarities of cancer diagnosis require the doctor to adopt a different approach and make the study of the psychosocial aspects of the patient and communication techniques necessary to avoid iatrogenesis. This paper aims to study the relationship between the doctor and the cancer patient in a public oncology reference center. A qualitative and descriptive exploratory study was performed involving 17 patients diagnosed with cancer at Fundação Centro de Controle de Oncologia do Estado do Amazonas (Amazonas State Oncology Control Center Foundation), Brazil. The patients interviewed expressed a wide variation of feelings; they wanted greater sincerity and clarity from doctors during diagnosis; they questioned the difficulty of access to health care; they complained about the effects of treatment and the emotional and physical limitations experienced during the process; and finally they emphasized the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. In conclusion, it was noted that patients recognized important aspects of the diagnostic process and the treatment of cancer, which, when duly contextualized, serve as a basis for rethinking medical practice and the doctor-patient relationship.