Dr. Chap describes helpful advice a physician can tell a woman who is newly diagnosed with cancer.
Well, I think the most important thing that a physician can do with the patient in that situation is reassurance and to give them hope. So many strides have been made in the area of oncology that patients are beating the odds every day about how they’ll do. So very important to be realistic, yet to offer optimism for patients in that situation.
Well, I think that it’s important for patients to realize they do have a voice and that they want to be in a medical environment where they will be heard, and sometimes they really do have to be their own advocates. It can be very helpful to have a family member or a friend present during their consultations and to listen during the recommendations that are given because it’s very common for patients to leave their first and even second appointments and maybe remember 50% of what’s been said because of fear.
And even physicians, as a patient, for example, is answering the question or vice versa, the physician is answering, the patient is answering; the other counterpart is already thinking of what their next question is and haven’t digested yet what the information was. So having a tape recorder, taking notes, having a friend present, spouse present, partner, I think is very important, and to ask questions. This is their life, their body, and they should not be fearful of asking questions and seeking a second opinion.
I think what I would want to say and offer as a message is that it’s a very frightening experience for anybody, and a woman in the situation to be diagnosed with cancer, but that they should be hopeful. We are making so many strides and making so many advances within the area of oncology; it’s actually pretty amazing what we have to offer as far as the treatments have almost exponentially really taken off for the last decade and only will continue to do so for years to come.
About Dr. Linnea Chap, M.D.:
Linnea Chap, M.D., is a medical oncologist with an interest in breast cancer treatment. She has been published multiple times and has led several breast and ovarian cancer treatment protocols, including the pioneering use of novel biologic agents such as Herceptin and Avastin. In 2001, Dr. Chap was named, one of “America’s Top Breast Cancer Doctors” by Redbook. Annually, she has also been listed as one of “America’s Top Doctors for Cancer,” published by Michael Connelly. Recognized for her teaching and speaking skills, Dr. Chap has a national reputation where she is frequently called on to speak on the most recent advances in breast cancer treatment.
Visit Dr. Chap at Saint John's Health Center