Why Cancer Patients Opt to Receive Diagnosis Over the Phone

After undergoing a diagnostic imaging scan, waiting for the response can seem like an endless amount of time.  The wait for those anticipating a critical response can feel like a lifetime until the vital results are official.

You come in for a CT, an MRI, or some other medical procedure. You wear the gown, you do your time in the tube, then you get dressed and go home wondering “I wonder what they found”. For cancer patients, the diagnosis is difficult to process which leads to cancer patients preferring phone diagnosis in comparison to visiting in person. 

A Study on Cancer Diagnoses

according to studies from UC San Francisco’s Dr. Maria Wei and colleagues, the standard has been to deliver biopsy results in person because doctors felt like it was a more personal way to deliver difficult news. What this also means is that patients had to wait long after the results were in to actually schedule an appointment and receive the news.


Wei and her colleagues have surveyed patients at melanoma clinics around the country about whether or not they preferred the traditional way of delivering test results, and they found that now more than ever, patients want to know the news as soon as they possibly can.

What This Means for Patients

It’s agonizing sitting around and waiting for something that could be potentially life changing, and patients are starting to admit that rather than sitting down with a doctor they’d prefer to be informed of their test results over the phone as soon as the information is made available to their doctor.

This study brings an important issue to light, one that many centers are hoping to embrace. Dr. Jennifer Stein, a dermatologist at NYU School of Medicine, noted that “As generations change and as technology changes, we may be more moving in that direction. Asking a patient how they want to receive information can be really illuminating.” 

This study proves a point and will hopefully be embraced by doctors delivering tough news in the future. Not only will this save doctors time, it gives patients immediate answers and shortens the wait time. We understand that waiting for results can be lengthy and that’s why our radiologists at Rosetta Radiology give our patients results on the spot. 

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