Heading into any doctor’s appointment can be nerve-wracking, especially if your appointment has to deal with a recent cancer diagnosis. Being an effective communicator with your health care team can help your appointment move along smoothly.
Check out our tips below!
1. Be An Active Patient
You should consider yourself a member of your health care team. Becoming an active member of that team will help aid in your treatment and wellbeing. Gather all the information you need to make an informed decision about your healthcare needs.
2. Be Prepared
Your health care team may be busy throughout the day. It is important to be prepared in advance to make your appointment as effective as possible.
- Bring a written list of questions and concerns you may have.
- Write down your specific symptoms, the start dates, lengths of duration, and intensity in a journal. You never know what you may forget when it comes time to talk to your doctor about your issue.
- Ask a family member or friend to attend your appointment. They can be added eyes and ears for you, write down the answers to your questions, and provide extra support to you.
3. Ask Questions
During your appointment, you may have extra questions. It’s important to talk freely and openly to your doctor. If you don’t understand something, ask more questions. Doctors may use more technical language; feel free to ask them to clarify.
4. Communicate Between Appointments
Your care does not end as soon as you walk out of the treatment room. Many doctors are willing to answer questions or concerns between your appointments. Don’t be afraid to ask what the best form of communication is if you need to contact them for further information.
5. Become Familiar
It’s important to get to know your health care team. The doctors, nurses, physician assistants, pharmacists, and others are all important members of your care team. They are knowledgeable in their field and can provide you with guidance and basic information about your care.
Building an effective doctor-patient relationship is important. Becoming a good communicator during and after your appointments can help you get the most out of your time with your team.
Angela Banker is a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a sister; she is also a young survivor, a caregiver, a supporter, and a fighter. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, and found herself empowered to share her story to raise awareness about breast cancer. Angela participates in Relay For Life, started the Sisters Beating Breast Cancer page to inspire others, and continues to "fight like a girl" with the hope that her daughter will never have to hear the dreaded words, "You have cancer."