This is the fourth in a series of columns on the doctor/cancer patient relationship by Seabrook resident Dr. Roy Sessions, MD, and Fellow of the American Council of Surgeons.
The days in which patients rarely challenged medical recommendations are long past, and an informed patient – even one with cancer – frequently seeks input into the decision process about therapy options. The paternalism of the past, in which a doctor’s advice was sacrosanct and unchallengeable, has appropriately been replaced with an inclusive approach in which the patient is offered choices – specific advice, of course – but choices nevertheless.
This new attitude comes out of the information age in which there is little proprietary knowledge, and importantly represents a search for autonomy in many informed patients. Truth be known, this new attitude is not only directed to the medical profession, but applies to the questioning of most authority figures – the law, the clergy, the modern family unit and others. For better or worse, blind acceptance of dogma is not the norm in 2014. Let’s explore this notion as it pertains to the management of cancer patients. Continue reading “Guest Columnist Dr. Roy Sessions: Quality of Life Concerns and The Search for Autonomy in Cancer Patients”