Cancer: the fear and the shock

    January 31, 2017

    Cancer: the fear and the shock

    The first diagnosis of any cancer in a patient puts him a phase of denial. The news is always taken as a shock laced with fear and then comes the acceptance.

    If you are the cancer doctor of the patient who is referred to you, it is usually not possible to give all the information, options and prognosis to the patient and his relatives in a single go. Firstly, it is not feasible because of the dependency on the staging, surgery, tissue biology and response to medicines. It is a gradual course and a decently lengthy procedure, the patient has to realize he has to take a long journey to get results. Secondly, it is extremely difficult to precisely predict where that journey will take them to.

    The first question that most of the patients ask, “Doctor can this be cured”. If the stage is advanced or the patient has been quite late to be diagnosed of cancer, the most likely next question is “Where can we go to get the best cure”. Yes, everyone wants to be treated by the best doctor for cancer at the best center where the patient can be well taken care of in such a crucial time.

    But then you get questions like; “Doctor I have important meetings”, or “my work will not give me leave”. “Can I join back the day after tomorrow after the surgery? “It is only then you get the uncanny feeling that the significance has probably not crept in. It takes a while for them to understand. It is our honest job and profession to take the patient through this journey. The sessions are long and demand a lot of patience. And the most difficult question is “how long shall I live”.

    As a cancer surgeon, we know we cannot act “GOD”, although a lot may depend on us. From the stage of suspicion to the diagnosis and eventual surgery (if the patient merits one) and the follow-up care or adjuvant treatment, we just need to guide them through the plethora of options available and with the advent of technology, there are far too many. As the options increase so do the opinions of healthcare professionals. There remains a very fine line between underdo, do and overdo. The international guidelines help, but they are castrated at times with finances, availability, and expertise. Everyone lands up doing what they do the best rather than guiding the person to what best can be done for him or her. It is largely interplay of ethics, position, experience, expertise and industry driving forces.

    Nothing is absolute, nothing is wrong but the bottom line is that every decision should be guided and determined in the best interests of the patient. With the increasing incidence of medico-legal battles and the consequences, the fight has become even tougher and the most important ingredient which has been eroded in the bargain is the “faith” the astute faith which was there between the doctor and the patient.

    We as a fraternity are here to restore that faith and the confidence, although we can never eliminate the fear!!!

    Author bio:

    Dr. G. Srikanth and Dr. Ritu Khare are amongst the best doctors in the Middle East. The duo along with their team of specialists, have been working extensively and have been successfully performing different types of cancer surgeries for several years. One of the well-known gastrointestinal surgeons, Dr. G. Srikanth along with cancer specialist, Dr. Ritu Khare, offers advanced laparoscopic procedures for the treatment of colon cancer and cancers related to the pancreas.

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