Monday, October 13, 2014

What Doctor's Won't Tell You About Cancer


Approximately 40.4 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with all cancer sites at some point during their lifetime, based on 2009-2011 data.  In a study conducted by the National Cancer Institute, 476 people who received a diagnosis of cancer participated in a survey. Some of those findings suggest the way we receive this devastating news is in need of serious repair.

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.

  • 39% of the patients were alone when told of their cancer diagnosis.
  • 8% of the patients had a less than 1 minute conversation about their diagnoses. 36% said the conversation lasted between 1 and 10 minutes.
  • 15% of the patients lost trust in their physician as a result of the conversation, based on poor communication and general dissatisfaction.
These statistics show how broken the medical system is with regard to how men and woman receive the news they have cancer. The fact that 39% received the news when they were alone is inexcusable. Also alarming is the fact 15% of  those in the study lost trust in their physicians as a result of the way in which the news as provided.  Based on the responses  I've received so far from men with PC, I believe this number may be lower for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. 

That said, what seems to be missing for the overwhelming people who receive a diagnosis of cancer is this important fact:
Coping with cancer has both a medical component and an emotional component. After I received the diagnosis of prostate cancer, fear and anxiety became my constant companions as well as many sleepless nights.  No one ever discussed the emotional component of coping with the diagnosis of prostate cancer. No one ever suggested I seek other men further along in the journey to help me in this process of coping with prostate cancer. I felt isolated and alone. 

That's the reason my wife and I wrote our book, We wanted to offer men and couples the information and help they didn't receive at the time they were given the news. 
Check it out on Amazon.com:
I Left My Prostate In San Francisco-Where's Yours?
Coping With The Emotional, Relational, Sexual & Spiritual Aspects of Prostate Cancer.

The book provides you the information you and your partner need to cope with prostate cancer. Don't take my word for it,  Here's what a reader said about our book.

The Redner's have combined their efforts to provide a very thorough and insightful overview of a broad spectrum of the emotional, physical, and spiritual experiences that make up the beginnings of the "cancer journey" as viewed from both the patient's and caregiver's standpoints. (I wish this had been available to me when I received my diagnosis and began treatments in 2009!) Many of the subjects they write about were never discussed with us by my doctors - and should have been! And, much of the advice they offer regarding their experiences I've not seen or read about in any other source

The majority of people who receive a diagnosis of cancer find it to be a traumatic and life changing event. My wife and I offer the information and support regarding the emotional, relational, sexual and spiritual  aspects of prostate cancer, If you are coping with cancer of any kind, it's worth checking out this book.