Oncologists should be experts at farewells. I often write a note of condolence if I have not made personal contact with the patient or family close to the time of death.
Rebecca Bechhold, MD
When someone states they are “tired,” it prompts follow-up questions regarding activity, sleep, diet, and stress, among other things—just as a complaint of pain leads to where, what kind, and how long.
Each person facing cancer has their own way of coping. They have no obligation to fit a stereotype that others may have conjured up. They are each the poster child of their own unique campaign.
Is there any truth in advertising? A recent study found that cancer center ads only emphasize positive outcomes, but other than direct-to-consumer marketing of pharmaceuticals that list all possible side effects, are you aware of any ads that state less than optimal outcomes?
Oncologists are always queried about how to “eat better so my cancer doesn’t come back.” I have found the most common food issue to be the role of soy in the diet, particularly for hormone-driven breast and prostate cancer patients.
I find it difficult to put a price tag on what I do. It is mainly a thinking profession we are in, though in recent years it has become more like data entry!
Survivorship is very much about lifestyle factors. Diet, exercise, weight control, and alcohol use must be part of our conversation each visit. Patients must see these as part of our “prescription” for their cancer treatment.
Before you invite people over to your house, you prepare, right? Get things straightened up, get the food and drink ready, clean up.
If payments were bundled, we would be accountable to evaluate our treatment plans, follow-up visits, tests, and imaging. We need a system that rewards us for excellent care and allows the costs to be presented to our patients.
Why do doctors have such a hard time embracing hospice care and using it to benefit patients, particularly oncology patients? Referring a patient to a hospice program starts a sophisticated plan of care wholly directed at patient comfort, education of the family and grief counseling for the family.