Patient-centered cancer care has become a priority in the oncology field. Increasing efforts to train oncologists in communication skills have led to a growing literature on patient-centered cancer education. In addition, systems approaches have led to an increased emphasis on the concept of teams as an organizing framework for cancer care. In this essay, we examine issues involved in educating teams to provide patient-centered cancer care. In the process, we question the applicability of a tightly coordinated 'team' concept, and suggest the concept of a 'care community' as a more achievable ideal for the way that cancer care is commonly delivered. We discuss the implications that this has for cancer communication education, and propose three principles to guide the development of educational interventions aimed at increasing patient-centeredness in cancer care delivery systems.
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