Reporting the Diagnosis of Neoplasia

Communication in medical care is important. This is particularly important in regard to neoplasia. Who is it? Where is it? What is it? The name of the patient, the location of the lesion, and the nature of the lesion must be stated clearly, heard clearly, and confirmed. At least in English, the word "no" tends to get lost in verbal and written communication.

A distinct positive or negative qualifier should be used in communication of a diagnosis regarding a neoplasm. Examples: "POSITIVE for carcinoma" or "NEGATIVE for malignancy".

When communicating, it is important to confirm that the diagnosis has been received correctly. After stating the diagnosis, ask the person receiving the diagnosis to give back the name of the patient, the site, and the diagnosis. Example: "Please tell me what I just said." "For the patient ______ the right lung transbronchial biopsy is POSITIVE for carcinoma." or "The patient ______ has a biopsy of the descending colon that is NEGATIVE for malignancy."