Current Oncology Reports

, 21:7 | Cite as

On Heartbreak in Oncology

  • Daniel RaysonEmail author
Palliative Medicine (A Jatoi, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Palliative Medicine

The many successes cancer medicine has witnessed over the past 2 decades have dramatically escalated the burden of care that oncologists are expected to provide. The availability of multiple treatment lines for diseases previously approached with therapeutic nihilism coupled with significant improvements in outcomes has been a boon to all those affected by cancer. These same achievements have also dramatically increased patient and societal expectations and have impacted the burden of care while blurring the lines between previously stark transitions from active to palliative or hospice care beyond recognition. The prolongation of active treatment times for almost all disease subtypes has resulted in a significant increase in the number of clinical stress points within an oncologist-patient relationship.

There has been much written regarding optimal communication and coping strategies for patients moving from active oncologic care to full palliative care or hospice. Many resources have...


Burnout Stress Coping Heartbreak 


Compliance with Ethics Guidelines

Conflict of Interest

Daniel Rayson declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


  1. 1.
    Eagle G, Kaminer D. Continuous traumatic stress: expanding the lexicon of traumatic stress. Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. 2013;19(2):85–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rayson D. White Knuckling. J Clin Oncol. 2016;34(12):1419–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Gieseler F, Gaertner L, Thaden E, Theobald W. Cancer diagnosis: a trauma for patients and doctors alike. Oncologist. 2018;23:752–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    West CP, Dyrbye LN, Erwin PJ, Shanafelt TD. Interventions to prevent and reduce physician burnout: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet. 2016;388:2272–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Wikipedia contributors. Broken Heart;, accessed Aug 27 2018.
  6. 6.
    Age and cancer risk;, accessed Jan 14 2019.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Medical OncologyQueen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre and Dalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada

Personalised recommendations