With a rare cancer like mesothelioma it is essential to your prognosis to have a trusted, optimistic doctor on your side. A positive relationship with your doctor holds healing power. You have the control to find a doctor who understands your needs and I’m here to help.

3 Benefits of Communicating Well With Your Doctor

A therapeutic relationship with your doctor is a powerful indicator of health care quality. Communication is key! The main goal of your visit to a doctor is to improve your health, not add more stress to your situation. Mesothelioma treatment can be less stressful with effective communication between you and your doctor.

There are 3 main benefits to communicating effectively with your doctor:

  • 1
    Your emotional stability will be enhanced.
  • 2
    Medical information is more easily understood with greater compliance of plan of care.
  • 3
    Your needs and expectations are more likely to be identified and met.

You should be leaving your doctor appointments with a full understanding of your diagnosis, the treatment options available to you, and the side effects of those treatments. You should also be leaving your doctor appointments with a feeling of hopefulness.

6 Signs of an Empathetic Doctor

Empathy builds trust. You want to build a long-term relationship with your doctor. Being diagnosed with a cancer like mesothelioma is scary. You want a doctor to validate that feeling and then educate you on what’s next.

How does a doctor effectively communicate and show empathy?

  • 1
    Simplifies the exchange of information
  • 2
    Acknowledges and legitimizes your feelings
  • 3
    Establishes eye contact and pays attention to your body language
  • 4
    Validates your concerns
  • 5
    Listens without interrupting
  • 6
    Includes you in the decision making

Mesothelioma is a complex type of cancer and in order to have a positive outcome, you need a doctor who is not only knowledgeable but also a good listener.

Listening is a doctor’s most important skill, besides their clinical expertise.

Contrary to what you may think, empathetic responses from doctors do not extend the time of a patient visit. Yes, doctors are under time constraints but their bedside manner should not be affected by that.

A Patient’s Experience

At first, mesothelioma survivor, Tobyn, chose her mesothelioma thoracic surgeon Dr. Neil Christie based on his name. Christie was a name that belonged to her family for generations. After 2 visits, her choice in specialist seemed to be a positive one.

“I feel he was a good choice as he seemed very down to earth and caring. When I showed up for the first surgery date looking like a raspberry speckled leopard, he told me he thought it was Lymes but he wasn’t an expert in that field so he wanted a specialist to confirm. I was glad he didn’t mind admitting that he didn’t know everything.”

Tobyn was able to have a pleurectomy with decortication (P/D) surgery with heated chemotherapy a month later after dealing with another health issue. Sure enough, Dr. Christie was the first person she saw postanesthesia and either he or his assistant visited 1-2 times per day during her hospital stay.

Honesty and empathy built a therapeutic relationship between Tobyn and Dr. Christie. 6 weeks post surgery Tobyn is feeling good and in positive spirits. She is ready to begin IV chemotherapy and continue her battle with mesothelioma with her doctor by her side.

Doctor Match Program

Our Doctor Match program takes bedside manner into account when connecting you to a mesothelioma specialist. This may mean you need to travel to receive the best care, but your health is your first priority. There are many resources I can provide to lessen the burden of travel expenses.

Photograph of Jenna for nurses corner

Let me help you find a doctor you can trust and who will guide you through this cancer journey.

If you need my assistance in finding a specialist, you can fill out a Doctor Match form on our site or contact me directly at 888-385-2024 x 102 or jenna@mesotheliomaguide.com.

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Show Sources & Author

  1. Missed Opportunities for Interval Empathy in Lung Cancer Communication. MD Anderson. Retrieved from: https://www.mdanderson.org/education-and-research/resources-for-professionals/professional-educational-resources/i-care/teaching-and-learning-communication-skills/epner-missedempathylungcancer.pdf. Accessed: 10/05/16.
  2. Doctor-Patient Communication: A Review. The Ochsner Journal. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096184/. Accessed: 10/05/16.

About the Writer, Jenna Campagna, RN

Jenna Campagna is a registered nurse and patient advocate who is passionate about helping mesothelioma patients navigate their health care. Through her blogs, she aims to simplify the complicated journey through mesothelioma by offering helpful tips and advice.