Thank you for your tremendous feedback to this blog since it went live earlier this week. A lot of people have dropped a note to say they like the interview with Lesley Fallowfield. Here is a great response from a leading oncologist:
Lesley Fallowfield’s influence has been profound, and formal teaching of communication skills is very much more widespread now than it was when I was a trainee. But still the emphasis is on oncologists, cancer surgeons, specialist nurses – that is, cancer specialists. We still hear horror stories from patients about how they first hear of their diagnosis, from non-cancer specialties like general medicine. Too many clinicians fear breaking bad news (new diagnosis, relapse and so on) – I’m not saying it is something to be relished, but doing this difficult job well can be just as much a rewarding challenge as many other professional activities we regularly perform.
This is a topic I will return to in future posts.
Meanwhile, it has been a busy week for cancer news. I pay tribute to Nicola Mendelsohn, head of Facebook in Europe, for coming out with the fact that she has incurable blood cancer:
Nicola has been put on the “watch and wait” regime which means that the doctors won’t do anything about her disease until, and if, progresses. Having “been there, done that,” with almost but not quite exactly the same diagnosis, I have to commend her courage and to wish her well as the years go by.
There was good news for Nicola, me and others with blood cancers: superb results from new trials. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-42920045
The other “c-word” in cancer is of course cure, and there seems to be a real hope that some diseases can be kicked into touch for long enough to be classified as cured.