Are We Communicating?

Ten Easy Steps To A Terrific Doctor/Patient Relationship

1. Always bring a written list of pertinent questions and concerns. The list should include questions you want to ask and information you want to give. Remember, your time is limited. Use it wisely.

2. Communication is a two-way street. Giving information is as important as getting information. Health care professionals want to know about YOU.

3. Two heads are better than one. Ask a family member or friend to accompany you to doctor’s appointments.

4. Permanently record your visit on tape. Pocket-sized, battery-operated recorders are now available for a reasonable price – a worthwhile investment, for sure.

5. Don’t say you’re “just fine” unless you really are. Be honest and speak up. Never withhold information out of fear.

6. Be cooperative. Working with the professionals rather than against them yields a more productive appointment.

7. Clarity means understanding. If you don’t understand something, repeat what you heard and what it means to you. Keep after it until you understand.

8. Keep to the point. Your list will help you stay focused.

9. Ask, and you shall receive. Don’t ask, and you won’t. Health professionals aren’t mind readers. State clearly how involved you wish to be in the treatment process, and what you need to know.

10. Leave yourself an out. Good doctor/patient chemistry won’t change the cancer, but it could improve your outlook and your understanding of the disease. Be choosy. Don’t settle for second best.

Note: Refer to the American Cancer Society pamphlet Talking With Your Doctor for more ideas.