John Libbey Eurotext

Bulletin du Cancer


Conspiracy of silence in oncology: a situation not to be overlooked Volume 90, issue 2, Février 2003

Centre Oscar Lambret, 3 rue F. Combemale, BP 307, 59020, Lille cedex

Disclosure of a cancer diagnosis and, more often that of a poor prognosis facilitates the creation of a conspiracy of silence, also called a collusive situation. It is often imposed by the patient's relatives. While the initial purpose is to protect a loved one from bad news, these situations are observed in the end to create psychological suffering for all of the protagonists: patient, family, care providers. In order to resolve conflicts and improve the lived experience of difficult moments, it is preferable to break into the collusion by initiating a dialogue. A clinical vignette illustrates an approach to take in everyday practice.