Breast Cancer Hotline Reveals Widespread Communication Problem with Doctors

I got an email recently from someone who read Critical Decisions, and who said it resonated with her in part because of work she does with a breast cancer hot line.

“I’ve been volunteering as a Helpline worker for Living Beyond Breast Cancer.  We get a lot of calls from women who seem to have communication problems with their doctors.  Sometimes they don’t understand aspects of their treatment or are puzzled by unexpected side effects or think they’ll be seen as complainers if they speak up.  We always tell them it’s part of their doctors’ jobs to answer questions and explain stuff, and we try to give them some information about what they’re experiencing to help them formulate questions.  But your book also made me think it would be a good idea to help them articulate their values and priorities.”

My advice:  Write down your questions in advance.  And bring someone along to the visit, if possible, who is not shy about asserting themselves in front of doctors.

Any other suggestions you would have her pass along to the women calling in?


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