More on Cancer Doctor-Patient Interaction


Let’s review some of what we’ve discussed in previous blogs so as to get the most out of today’s efforts.  I have been arbitrary in stating that the end point of real communication is patient comprehension; anything less is sub-standard.  The bottom line as it pertains to patients is “what has been achieved if a patient doesn’t understand what has been explained?”  To take this one step further, the confusion that results from the lack of comprehension is often counter-productive.  I have further written that achieving this state of understanding is the responsibility of the doctor, to whom it should be clear that subsequent experiences are psychologically more complicated and frightening for an uninformed patient.   The cancer experience — the suspicion, the confirmation, the workup, the treatment, and the follow-up—is a continuum, or journey, if you will, that involves a sustained commitment by a number of individuals on the cancer team, and the better the communication between this group and the patient the better. Not all cancer teams are attuned to this concept, but at a minimum, the leader of the team i.e. the oncologist(s) should be firmly aware of and committed to it. Continue reading “More on Cancer Doctor-Patient Interaction”