Do you have to be more sensitive as an oncologist?

If you were an oncologist (cancer specialist), would you have to be more sensitive concerning patients? Telling someone they have cancer is different than telling someone they are anemic, you know? Would you rather that your doctor were kind and caring to you and held you hand through it all, or would you rather your doctor be straight forward? I'm scared that I'll be a shit doctor because I'm not a very kind and compassionate person.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • I'd rather think the opposite, especially when you work with children.
    Seeing them suffer each day would probably make you crack if you're too sensitive.
    Being compassionate and kind is absolutely a precious property, just try not to be too fragile.
    As an oncologist, you will lose patients, and some of them you'll have treated for months or even years.
    But, for sure, these people will surely feel cheered up by having a doctor with a positive and lovely attitude :D

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Most Helpful Girl

  • You have to have an emotional distance when you do these things - otherwise you will be going crazy every day because there is a chance you could have patients dying everyday. Be respectful and serious - but not sad. When my mother was told she had cancer a decade ago - she was upset and then her doctor put her hand on her should and said "don't worry - we can help." you could try doing the same thing.

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    • Well I wouldn't do that but I'd say "it's treatable. " and be realistic about their odds.

What Guys Said 4

  • I have recently heard that a consultant said to a friend of a friend, "We'll cancel your next appointmant as you won't be here"! Shocking.

    Yes, you have to be very sensitive. It's as hard as diagnosing the condition!

    It's always best to try and talk to the patient's next of kin (wife/husband/child) to try to establish what and how much to tell the patient. Personally, I wouldn't want to know. I know this fact as I have a life threatening condition myself.

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  • Dealing with possible terminal patients I think it might be better to remain detached - You would be a wreck if you got personally invovled in every case. I am sure you receive interpersonal training for talking to patients.

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  • Well, the doctor who called to tell me that my mom had terminal cancer
    offered no compassion , he came right out and said your mother has
    terminal cancer and her lifespan is unknown well it was 12 days later
    she passed away.,

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    • Well. He said the facts. There's literally classes that teach you how to tell someone they're dying. How do you tell someone that they will die in days with compassion? Just say it.

    • Asker there are compassionate ways to break bad news to people. A class doesn't teach people how to be compassionate or care about others. Being cold is completely different than straightforward

  • You don't have to be but I think doctors should more compassionate than most are... Especially when dealing with something as serious and life changing as cancer.

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What Girls Said 5

  • I think it entirely depends on the patient and what they want. Some patients want you to just give them the news, other patients want you to walk them through it and ease them into it. Just to be sure, you could always ask them what they want. The fact that you're scared of being a shit doctor shows that you're more kind than you think you are. You don't have to be very compassionate I think, you just have to be tactful with the way you word things and how you break the news.

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    • But getting to the point is not the same as being a complete asshole. I just read the other opinions giving examples of what not to say. And yeah, I don't think anyone on here has to explain why saying those things are completely uncalled for.

  • Doctors have to be caring.. specially oncologists

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  • You don't have to. Most I've come across are not. But you should be tactful with the words.

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  • Yes. And if you are not a very kind and compassionate person why would you want to be a doctor or connsultant whos prime job description is to diagnose and treat patients and doing so will need a lot of patience, understanding tact, kindness and compassion.

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    • I want to do it because it'll make me money and I can do cancer research. I originally wanted to be a diagnostician. I don't necessarily do it to help people, that's just a selfish bonus. I do it because it's a puzzle and I want to aid in advancing the research and treatments.

    • Get into clinical research not patient care then. And yes, we need a cure for cancer.

    • No. It's not as if I am going to make it a point to be a complete ass. I can be compassionate when it's needed. Acting isn't hard. But you can't be emotionally invested in every case you get or you'll be miserable all the time.

  • I think it really depends on the person how they want to be told.

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