Patients Know Best

by Dana Demas

Do you know your body the best? Many cancer patients say they “just knew” something was wrong, before a diagnosis confirmed their fears. Once in treatment, many also experience side effects that become more distressing than the cancer itself, but are told by doctors not to worry about it.

An article in this week’s New York Times tackles these gut feelings many of us have about our health – and how the information may be getting lost in translation from patient to doctor. The reasons are many: There isn’t enough time during an office visit for an in-depth discussion of symptoms. A patient doesn’t want to complain about or doesn’t remember troubling treatment-related side effects once at the doctor. Or, some doctors simply listen to patients better than others.

With a disease like cancer, feeling in control matters. Ask yourself: Do you feel empowered to speak up about side effects to your doctor or do you keep it to yourself? Do you feel heard by healthcare providers or brushed off?