When you’re given a negative medical diagnosis – particularly a chronic or potentially fatal disease – you are forced to absorb a massive amount of new information quickly. Processing instructions for your care, jargon, and unfamiliar terminology can be overwhelming.
If you aren’t able to talk to your doctor effectively about your questions and concerns, then you’re forced to blindly trust someone you don’t really know to make your medical decisions.
This can add more stress at a time when you’re already dazed and frightened.
A poor diagnosis is always upsetting, but cancer patients face a different set of challenges. The raging fear and anxiety attached to the mere word “cancer” mean there is no doubt about the seriousness of the situation. It isn’t an obscure disease that no one has ever encountered. Most everyone knows someone who has either fought cancer and/or died from cancer.
Numbing terror means open and trusting communication is incredibly important between a cancer patient and medical personnel.
Whether you’re pursuing conventional or alternative therapies, a cancer patient navigates a maze of different doctors, nurses, specialists, and surgeons from day one. Treatment has to be organized. Medicine is often prescribed and needs to be administered. Surgeries are sometimes recommended with a long recovery period to follow. What do you need to know about your health insurance coverage and how will you manage time off work?
Honesty during this first conversation cannot be stressed enough. You have to talk about everything, all of your habits, even the poor ones like smoking or drinking that you might not wish to share. Withholding information at this stage can drastically affect the outcome of your cancer treatment protocol.