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Recently diagnosed with breast cancer? Ask these questions

    • 1957 posts
    March 5, 2014 11:04:33 PM PST

    If you have been recently diagnosed with breast cancer, you may want to get these key questions answered by your doctors.

    If you have been told that your breast cancer is "Triple negative," you may want to see this. (Please note: most breast cancers are not "triple negative.")

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    This post was edited by DrSocial Admin at April 5, 2015 11:32:37 AM PDT
    • 7 posts
    March 7, 2014 8:30:14 PM PST

    The list of questions is pretty good but I think these idea's need to be on there somewhere.

    If there's someone you would like to be there but they can't make it ask the doctor if they mind you put someone on speaker phone. I haven't had a doctor no yet. Also it's good to have two note takers in the begining. You are likely to get tons of info from all the doc's.

    Also the bigger hospitols should give you a cancer note book. It's basically a place to keep all your records orginazed. If for some reason your hospitol doesn't have one livestrong should provide one for free. 

    Even you have good insurance you should talk to the hospitol social worker about charitable oganizations that offer financial assistance. Some do not care what your income but others do. You won't know if you don't ask  

    Lastly, May you journey through the sucky world of cancer be as easy as possible. Now GO KICK CANCERS ASS!!r!

    This post was edited by DrSocial Admin at April 5, 2015 11:31:44 AM PDT
    • 1957 posts
    March 7, 2014 8:57:00 PM PST

    Dear a1b29, Thank you for the tips.

    I would like to give you an official thumbs up. Feel free to share more useful recommendations as you come across them. In addition to the note takers, you may want to ask the doctor if you can record the conversation.

    Please consider that doctors are not perfect and sometimes they say the wrong things or say something that perhaps could have been said better in another manner, or shouldn't have been said at all. All doctors do this, and these imperfections in their communication, such as the grammatical errors that are present in some of my social media posts should be discerned as distinct from comments such as those made by a radiologist who is running for office in KS.

    If anything I say isn't clear or is incorrect I appreciate correction. Many doctors are not comfortable being recorded, and things go through their mid such as, "what if I say, 'uh' as I start a sentence and sound foolish on tape."

    Care in the USA is very fragmented if compared to a perfect system with unlimited resources. While on the topic, if you are on speaker phone with another person, they may want to record the conversation.

    An app that may help with that is

    Finally, always explain to the doctor what you are going to do at the end. Doctors who have had clinical training in the US are taught to use the "teachback method" with patients.

    This means that after the doctor gives the patient much information about their treatment plan, and near the end of the conversation, the doctor can say something to the patient such as: "I recently gave you a lot of information, and to make sure that we both agree on the plan for your care, please explain to me how you are going to take your medicines." That is simply an example and if the physician doesn't provide you with the opportunity to teach them back, then you may want to say "hey doc, this is my plan, I am going to take one omeprazole every day for my heartburn."

    Some physicians are uncomfortable being audio recorded and may refuse. Such a decision seems foolish and paternalistic as patients are going to record with or without a physician's permission if they are highly interested in doing so.

    I find the issue of recording a patient-physician encounter to be somewhat interesting and would like to share a few thoughts on the topic. In rejecting the idea of recording a patient physician encounter, one might reference other types of interactions. For example. one does not usually record their mechanic working on their car. A purpose of that might be to make sure they adjust the car appropriately without damaging it. The car owner could watch to see if the mechanic put oil filter on too tight damaging the adjacent appartus, etc.
    However, due to the high importance of excellent medical decision-making, accurate communication, and the potential outcome from not achieving either of the two aforementioned goals, I think that physicians should leave the decision of recording to the patient.
    Here is a case of malpractice where the patient secretly recorded the interview. Telling a patient who is very interested in recording the interview that they cannot record it will probably make them feel oppressed, not in control of their health, and more likely to sue the physician

    This post was edited by DrSocial Admin at April 5, 2015 11:30:31 AM PDT
    • 7 posts
    March 7, 2014 10:31:48 PM PST
    • In the begining I was afraid to tape. I thought what if one of the docs say something bad or ambiquois? I was worried I replay it and replay it and replay it some more which wouldn't have been good for my mental health. However I became more of a fan of it when in the hospitol. I let my family and friend record their questions for my docs that way I didn't have to worry about remembering the answers. I also had all my docs record the answers. Again this allowed me not to have to remember the answer or from getting confused about which doc said what. Sometimes you just don't want to have to function but you don't want to let anyone down. The recordings were super helpful in the hospitol.
    • 1957 posts
    March 7, 2014 11:37:40 PM PST

    Dear a1b2,

    Glad to hear that recordings helped you. For a routine office visit I would not recommend them for most patients as an increasing percent of patients receive after-visit summaries and are fully cognizant of the treatment plan as having demonstrated this through the "teach-back method."

    Thank you for bringing up the term "functioning." When many patients first hear the diagnosis of cancer, their funciton as an active participant in the clinical conversation greatly diminishes. As the doctor continues to speak, the patient often replays the word "cancer" in their mind, and physicians should be sensitive to the impact of their words on others. I certainly understand that when you were in the hospital you probably were not functioning as well as normal, nor would you be expected to be.
    Audio recorders are also used in medical education. Even people that are considered to be the best doctors do not remember everything. Therefore, recording may sometimes be appropriate even for them. There are multiple additional reasons for recording that are not related to function. Parenthetically, eloquent replies form an effective means of rebuttal to false inferences, and when supplemented with audio recordings provide irrefragable documentation of events.

    Thank you for the reply. 


    This post was edited by DrSocial Admin at April 5, 2015 11:26:29 AM PDT
    • 445 posts
    • 10 posts
    June 28, 2017 5:53:03 PM PDT

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