deliverING poor prognosis to CANCER patients from CALD backgrounds


National Breast Cancer Foundation project grant and Cure Cancer Australia Foundation grant


Principal investigator: Professor Maurice Eisenbruch

Chief investigators: Professor Phyllis Butow, Professor David Goldstein, Professor Rick Iedema

Associate Investigators: Associate Professor Frances Boyle, Professor Michael Friedlander, Dr Nicholas Wilcken, Dr Amanda Goldrick, Dr Jodi Lynch, Dr Ray Ashgari, Dr Rina Hui, Dr Jenny Shannon


Almost one-third of patients in Australia affected by breast cancer are from culturally diverse backgrounds. The evidence suggests cultural gaps in communication between patients and cancer specialists, especially in talking about potential for 'cure' and length of life 'prognosis'.


The CALD Prognosis study aims to:

  1. examine how discussions about prognosis between cancer specialists and patients vary according to the cultural background of the patient
  2. explore and compare the views of Arabic-speaking, Chinese-speaking, Greek-speaking and Anglo-Australian cancer patients and their families regarding what and how they would prefer to be told about issues relating to advanced cancer, and
  3. match this information with the views of doctors and community opinion leaders from Chinese, Arabic and Greek-speaking communities.


The CALD Prognosis study has been running for 2.5 years and recruitment is now officially completed. We have successfully recruited 48 CALD participants and a control group of 32 Caucasian participants, diagnosed with metastatic cancer.

In this study, the clinician tape records their first and second consultations with the patient. Bi-lingual researchers then interview the patient and family after the second consultation about their experience of the consultations, and views about culturally optimal communication. This project will guide the development of guidelines regarding optimal communication about prognosis between doctors and patients with advanced cancer from CALD backgrounds.

Data analysis is ongoing, and we have identified some important and significant issues in communication with migrant cancer patients.