Saturday, October 11, 2014

Receiving The News You Have Cancer

I came across a study from the National Cancer Institute about the ways in which the news was given to those with cancer. Here's the results:
 437 patients surveyed had been referred for treatment. The researchers asked them how they learned of their diagnosis, what the doctors told them at the time they received the news, where they were located when they had the conversation, and how long the conversation lasted

The authors reported that a little over half the patients were told their diagnoses in their doctor's office, 18% over the phone, and 28% in the hospital. 44% of the conversations lasted less than 10 minutes, and 53% lasted more than 10 minutes. In about 31% of the conversations, no treatment plan was discussed. It is no surprise to anyone that patients were more satisfied with the experience-if you can say that you can be satisfied with hearing you have cancer--with in person discussions rather than by telephone, with longer time and with an explanation of treatment options.

I must be an odd ball. I did NOT want to receive the news in my Doctor's office. I asked him to call me at home. Since I was 100% certain I'd be receiving the news I had prostate cancer, I wanted receive that news in the comfort and safety of my own home.

 Additionally, I didn't want to get behind the wheel and drive knowing I'd be shell shocked.  The phone call I received was 10 minutes, but the questions I had at the time were answered. At the time I was satisfied with the way I received the news. Looking back I realize the news left my wife and I alone with our terror.

When someone receives potentially life threatening and/or the catastrophic news they have cancer, they should have access to a Medical Social Worker or Nurse who can help them process the news from a medical and an emotional standpoint.

Any man/couple who receives the diagnosis of prostate cancer should receive a list resources available on-line and face to face which will enable them to reach out to others further along in the journey of coping with prostate cancer.

If you were diagnosed with cancer, how were your told and were you satisfied with the process.