Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Telling someone they have the big C

Today's LA Times has an interesting blog post giving results of a survey on how people were told that they had cancer. The phone-message-on-Valentines-Day example seems, um, not great.

My own experience was probably on the "most positive" end of the continuum. I went in for a formal follow-up appointment and got the news from the surgeon, who spent roughly an hour with me (and Noah), drawing pictures and discussing the treatment and answering all the questions that could surface from the depths of our confused, overwhelmed brains. He (the surgeon) also emphasized the word "cure" repeatedly, and his tone was so confident and positive that I never felt--at that time--like "I might die," just like (as I told Noah) "my life [was] going to SUCK for the next year."

The only bad part of the news-delivery process, for me, was that the surgeon and the rest of the oncology staff were angry with my primary-care physician for not taking responsibility for that process himself. And they let their anger be known, just a bit. So I knew that there was some buck-passing, and maybe I could have done without that. Overall, though, I'd give Norris Cancer Center an A in this area.

How doctors deliver the news: It's cancer

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