Yesterday I shared an important article about how patients often don’t hear what their oncologist is saying: Big Mistake: Most Patients Don’t Listen Carefully To Their Oncologists.
The bottom line:
“In several key areas, information was either missing or had been explained but was interpreted incorrectly by patients,” they said. Discussion of prognosis was a frequent omission: although oncologists said they had discussed it, both patients and the independent observers often disagreed.
At the end of the article, I added my advice that “a friend or caregiver should attend important meetings with your physicians whenever possible. One or both of you should take notes.”
Let’s take this one step further. Preparation for such meetings is very important. Always bring a list of questions with you to your appointments. Try keeping a small journal or notebook. Write down thoughts, symptoms and questions you might have at home, office or while you are traveling.
Look them over prior to your appointment, organizing them into a few simple, concise questions. Then firmly, yet politely, share each one with your doctor. Don’t let them “gloss over” or dismiss any question. Try and be assertive. This is important–and another reason having a friend or caregiver along with you at appointments is a great idea–so he or she can help you work through your questions with the doctor.
You need to understand what your physician is saying and why. He or she needs to listen to your concerns and answer questions. This is more than being polite. This give-and-take should help you and your doctor work together to head-off any problems. It can also help your doctor make a clearer diagnosis and to identify the best treatment options for you.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat