So you’re saying there’s a cure?

Communication is hard.  It’s especially hard when receiving difficult information. Turns out cancer patient care is no different. An eye-opening 2012 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled, “Patients’ Expectations about Effects of Chemotherapy for Advanced Cancer,” studied 1193 patients with newly diagnosed metastatic lung cancer or colorectal cancer to understand their perception and expectation of the role of treatment with chemotherapy.  In the setting of advanced cancer, chemotherapy can prolong life and may provide palliative benefits, reducing tumor burden and maintaining or improving patient’s quality of life, but it is not curative. Results from the study showed that over 69% of patients with stage IV lung cancer and 81% of patients with stage IV colon cancer thought chemotherapy would cure them.

So where’s the disconnect?

Results from the study showed that over 69% of patients with stage IV lung cancer and 81% of patients with stage IV colon cancer thought chemotherapy would cure them.

If you’re interested in learning more, please join tonight’s discussion for the Lung Cancer Social Media Chat  (#LCSM): “Patient-Physician Communication in Cancer Care: Conflicting ideals vs reality?” #LCSM occurs every other Thursday at 8 PM EST and is a great learning experience for anyone active in oncology.

This evening, the discussion will center around ASCO’s new guidelines related to communication and cancer patient care.  Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Tim Gilligan, lead author of the guidelines, will join the chat. No surprise Cleveland Clinic has providers involved in this initiative, as you’ll remember from my previous post related to empathy in healthcare.

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I highly recommend taking a stop over to the Lung Cancer Social Media blog for more background and physician perspective.  Dr. Jack West provides a thought provoking post and great context for the conversation this evening.

Shoot me a tweet @elisabethcramer if you’re planning to join. If you can’t join, take a look at the questions on the #LCSM blog and think about how you might answer them.  A transcript of the chat will be available afterwards.

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