Stigma, Communication, and Clinical Oncology Care: Three Case Studies

Gretchen A. McNally

Megan Roy

Caroline Etland

Ellen Carr

health-related stigma, clinical oncology care, communication
CJON 2024, 28(1), 52-62. DOI: 10.1188/24.CJON.52-62

Background: Health-related stigma can contribute to health inequities and poor outcomes. To address stigma-related issues in clinical oncology care, healthcare providers can identify stigma in clinical practice and apply strategies that reduce stigma.

Objectives: The aim is to identify stigma-related issues experienced by patients with cancer and to present strategies that address stigma-associated barriers to quality clinical oncology care.

Methods: This article presents three case studies that illustrate stigma-associated issues and strategies to address those issues in clinical oncology care.

Findings: Identifying intersectional stigmas in clinical care, each case study includes the patient’s background information, a social assessment, and a clinical update, as well as an example of dialogue between the nurse and patient. Each case study ends with commentary and questions to further illustrate stigma-related issues in clinical oncology care. Finally, supporting the case studies, the toolbox includes inclusive language; principles of universal precautions to apply to stigma in clinical oncology care; and communication components, strategies, and resources to reduce stigma in clinical oncology care.

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