The doctor-patient relationship matters especially in cancer patients. That has always been my theory based on emails I receive from breast cancer patients. The women who tell me they love their doctors, trust their doctors, and feel confident that they are placing their lives in their physicians’ hands, always seem like they are doing better emotionally and even physically through cancer treatment and beyond. Often, when I get a letter from a woman who is really having a rough time, I ask her how her relationship is with her Oncologist or Surgeon. Nine times out of ten, they admit to me that their confidence level is low, and they have thought about changing doctors but are afraid to do so. Now I have a study to prove my theory:
Lacking trust in one’s doctor affects health of emotionally vulnerable cancer patients
- Fear of my diagnosis and needing to just get to any doctor so the job can be done quickly
- Insurance – maybe my insurance won’t pay somewhere else
- Convenience – I don’t want to inconvenience my family by going to more doctor appointments. Staying close to home is just easier
Those issues are all very, very real. But in most cases, you do have choices. Remember, you are hiring the doctor, you or your insurance company are paying the doctor, and they work for you! I so admire cancer patients who change doctors mid-stream because “something just didn’t feel right.” It takes a lot of additional courage to do that, but your life is at stake. If you have ANY reservations about your physicians, get another opinion. Or better yet, get two opinions. If you have a great team of doctors, I would love for you to post and tell me about them! Or if you had to change doctors, I would also appreciate hearing about this!
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