Doctor-patient communication has always been a challenge, with the doctor not knowing what the patient is thinking and the patient not knowing the basis of the doctor’s treatment. Especially when encountering a serious disease like cancer, many people are at a loss as to what to do and obey the doctor’s words without thinking for themselves.
In fact, after being diagnosed with cancer, patients and their family members should be involved in the process, so that the doctor can understand their thoughts and give them the most appropriate treatment plan. In addition, it can also dispel the patient’s doubts and avoid doctor-patient disputes.
How to participate? What questions are helpful for patients and families to ask as laypersons?
1. Where is my cancer and has it metastasized?
The location of the cancer and whether or not it has metastasized plays an important role in the doctor’s treatment plan.
Some sites are inoperable; some cannot be treated with radiotherapy; and if some cancer cells have metastasized, surgery alone is not enough and has to be combined with chemotherapy, radiotherapy and traditional Chinese medicine, etc.
Therefore, it is important to understand this point. In this way, patients also have a general understanding of the treatment plan they are about to receive, reducing the fear brought by the unknown.
2. What stage does the cancer belong to and what are the chances of a cure?
It is necessary for patients to know their cancer stage clearly, not only for making plans, but also to know whether their cancer can be cured or only controlled to prevent its further development, so as to improve the quality of life and prolong the life cycle, and avoid over-treatment due to high expectations.
Generally speaking, it can be divided into stage 0 and stage 4. In stage 0, it is possible to rely solely on surgery or other treatments, and the cure rate is very high; in stage 4, the cancer cells have basically metastasized, so comprehensive treatment is needed, and the cure rate will be much lower.
3. What is the cure for my condition?
Understand your own condition and treatment plan (remember to ask the doctor what treatment you plan to use, what is the reason for using each treatment, how long each treatment takes, how often, what are the possible side effects, and whether there are any ways to reduce the side effects, etc.), so as to better cooperate with the doctor and enhance your confidence in fighting cancer.
There are many treatment methods for cancer, including surgery (the most common), chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, etc.
At present, comprehensive treatment is usually adopted in clinical practice, and the specific treatment depends on the specific conditions of patients.
4. In addition to receiving treatment, what should I be aware of in my daily life?
The occurrence of cancer and lifestyle have a close relationship, so, in order to effectively treat cancer, in addition to standard treatment, it is important to improve poor living and eating habits.
To try to achieve: balanced diet, eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, seafood, low-fat or fat-free food, as well as beans, nuts, etc., while eating less red meat and processed meat, etc.; appropriate exercise; maintain an optimistic state of mind, negative emotions are likely to lead to the recurrence of cancer; early to bed and early to rise, less late nights; stay away from tobacco and alcohol.
So, if you don’t know anything about how to take care of your life after treatment, you can ask your doctor, or ask him/her to help you make a detailed diet plan, exercise plan, etc.
5. How will the treatment affect my life?
Basically, every treatment will bring some side effects, so many patients will have a variety of uncomfortable symptoms, such as chemotherapy may bring nausea, vomiting, hair loss, bone marrow suppression and other toxic side effects, thus affecting life, work, and even fertility.
So at this time patients should know in advance what reactions they may have in the treatment process, is not the end of treatment these side effects can be recovered; during the period whether or not you can work normally; need to family care; after treatment will lose fertility and so on.
Generally speaking, if the patient’s condition is still okay, it will be recommended that the patient continue to work (more to reduce the intensity and difficulty of work), properly participate in some recreational activities, and even keep exercising, which can divert the patient’s attention from the disease, and the patient will feel better, which is beneficial to the recovery of the disease.
6. Do I need to do well during treatment and can I take nutritional supplements?
After all, cancer is a relatively high consumption disease, so patients definitely need to supplement sufficient nutrition and energy in order to fight against cancer, but note that there are also a lot of delicate nutritional supplements, not a single purchase of health supplements and nutritional supplements to supplement, some large doses of health supplements may even accelerate the growth of cancer cells, or reduce the effect of other anti-cancer drugs, affecting or worsening the condition.
Therefore, patients must ask their doctor if they can consume supplements before preparing to take them, or let their doctor recommend them.
Summing up: in the process of cancer treatment, it is necessary for patients to keep close contact with doctors, so that they can directly consult doctors for anything they do not understand, or give timely feedback to doctors for any discomfort that occurs in the body, and doctors can promptly solve the problem and adjust the treatment plan, which is very beneficial to cancer recovery.