Doctor-patient communication: a study of Australian ethnic urological cancer patients

Sabina Cerimagic*, Nariman Ahmadi, Howard Gurney, Manish I. Patel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine doctor-patient communication, focusing on ethnic Australian urological cancer patients. Design/methodology/approach – Samples of 50 Australian urological cancer patients of ethnic origin were chosen to participate in this study. The patients completed a 31-question survey, followed by a one-on-one semi-structured 30-40-minute interview with the patient. Findings – Most (90 per cent, n=45) of the patients indicated that they can communicate with their doctor without feeling stereotyped or judged. However, despite these responses 48 per cent (n=24) of the patients reported they did not ask for the doctor to explain the medical terms or meanings they did not understand. This resulted in 46 per cent (n=23) of the patients not knowing the stage of their cancer. Research limitations/implications – This is only a pilot study and the sample was limited to 50 patients. The limitations of this study make the results of the findings more suggestive rather than definitive. Further research would benefit by repeating this study with a larger sample size, to address the shortcomings of the study and to venture further into the realm of doctor and overseas patients communication in Australia. Practical implications – This research found that patients from lower socioeconomic backgrounds for whom English is not their first language have low levels of medical literacy and therefore require additional written information about their illness and treatment such as informative brochures, educational booklets and educational videos on their illness. Originality/value – To the knowledge, this is the first study that focuses on ethnic Australian urological cancer patients and their doctor-patient communication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-91
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
Externally publishedYes


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