Dialogue with your treatment team is key in maintaining open lines of communication.
In this informative article from Cancer.Net, Ira Byock, MD, Chief Medical Officer for the Institute for Human Caring of the Providence Health & Services System in Washington State discusses how to open the lines of communication with your doctor about the prognosis of your disease.
Many patients find it difficult to broach the subject of prognosis with their physician. Dr. Byock states:
When asking your doctor about your prognosis, remember there are no crystal balls and any estimates will be just that, educated guesses. Most people ask because they want to plan for the future. So when a patient asks me how long he or she has to live, I usually give a range of time and explain what signs I will be looking for in refining that estimate over time. As I mentioned, I tend to look at trends in a person’s weight, appetite, energy level, ability to walk or climb stairs or perform usual activities, and how they spend their days.
He goes on to highlight two questions patients should ask their doctors about prognosis:
- What can I do to improve my prognosis?
- What should I watch for to know whether I am likely to live longer or shorter than expected?
Click here to read the full article to learn more about talking to your doctor about prognosis.