Breaking Bad News in Breast Imaging: Keys to Success

Joshua Greenstein*, Aja Green-Walker, Regina Stein, Lilian C. Wang, Sonya Bhole

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The radiologist's ability to effectively communicate with patients is crucial in breast imaging. Having to tell a patient that she or he requires a biopsy procedure or has a new diagnosis of breast cancer is both a challenging task and a daily reality for many practicing breast radiologists. Despite this, communication in breast imaging is often not formally taught in most training programs, leading many breast radiologists to obtain their skills through on-the-job experience. We discuss the importance of effective communication with patients and a breast imaging-specific method for delivering bad news, adapted from approaches used in medical oncology. A conversation "script"or guide is provided along with the rationale for how to best handle these difficult conversations. Lastly, we review how to teach effective communication to those in training using our breast imaging fellowship program and recent survey results as an example.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)192-202
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Breast Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024


  • breast imaging fellowship training
  • communication training
  • delivering bad news

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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