There is a microscopic study on this discussion, “how a cancer doctor should tell his/her patient that he/she has cancer?”
Nowadays, there are increasing criticisms that hospitals aren’t providing the news very humanly to their patients. That’s why we’ve developed this article to guide you in telling the truth to cancer patients.
Things to Think About in General
Here are things you need to consider as a cancer doctor:
#1. Basic Rules
- The diagnosis should be discussed with the patients themselves.
- The patient should be handled by the same physician from the first contact through the final treatment. It’ll help to keep the patient’s trust.
- The setting for discussing the diagnosis must be carefully selected, offering a private space in which patients may completely express their emotions as needed. The diagnosis should never be conveyed over the phone, in a hallway, or in other public areas.
- Physicians should endeavor to provide as much information as they have at the first interview. Begin with a ‘suspicion’ or ‘possibility’ of cancer and work your way to a clear diagnosis.
- Although the proper explanation is required, do not bombard the patient with data without considering the patient’s current condition. Prepare to convey the facts as simply and plainly as possible.
- ‘You have advanced cancer, and there is nothing I can do,’ never do this. Physicians should be aware that their words and attitudes may inspire optimism and despair in their patients.
- Patients often are more likely to convey their emotions to nurses, not doctors. That’s why collaboration between doctors and nurses is critical.
- Don’t feel obligated to explain everything at once. Patients should be interviewed multiple times to go through the diagnosis step-by-step.
- It’s critical to put oneself in the patient’s shoes and refrain from making snap judgments about their responses.
#2. How to Approach Families?
- Family members should not be informed of a cancer diagnosis before the patient. They may be concerned that “the patient may commit suicide out of fear or shock. However, such a danger is considerably smaller than often assumed.
- Families may get more irritated than patients, and they may forget or misunderstand the reason. Don’t assume that “family will be OK when they get terrible news about the diagnosis since they are not patients.” It is often beneficial for doctors to seek counsel from a psychiatrist.
Discussing Cancer Diagnosis in Different Phases
Before A Final Diagnosis
- When the diagnosis detects any abnormalities:
- Patients have a complex mental state that includes a desire to be informed, “You do not have cancer,” as well as concern that “I may have cancer.”
- Discuss the results in simple terms. Any further tests required and the amount to which they would aid in the diagnosis should be disclosed.
- When there are signs and symptoms:
- Patients who have had symptoms and have resisted seeking medical help due to fear may be too tense to completely comprehend the explanations and diagnoses presented. In such circumstances, a more thorough explanation is required.
After Final Diagnosis
- It’s best to say something like, “You have cancer since cancer cells were verified by histological testing.”
- Don’t say things like, ‘You should be hospitalized as soon as possible, or your condition will become critical.’ Patients need time to prepare for hospitalization psychologically and socially.
Complaints from Patients
Here are some common complaints from cancer patients:
- Explanations are too technical.
- Desire to be informed about the intricacies of a disease rather than receiving generic information.
- The explanation isn’t presented with gentle care. Answers should be both encouraging and reassuring.
Telling the truth without the right abilities is like conducting surgery without knowing how to handle the aftermath. Observing outpatient clinics run by an experienced cancer doctor or learning how to gain informed consent from cancer patients might help you enhance your abilities.