Do you ever marvel at how specialized we’ve become as modern human beings living in modern societies? Nowhere is this more true than in the field of medicine. It’s as if each and every organ and bodily system is overseen by a different doctor, someone whose expertise is strictly limited to that very organ, disease, or bodily system. There are upsides and downsides to such specialization, one major downside being that our medical specialists can fail to see and relate to us as the whole people we are.
Knowing this all too well, I wasn’t suprised to read about the results of a recent survey presented at the 37th Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, indicating a need for improved dialogue between metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients and their oncologists. What surprised me wasn’t that there’s plenty room for improvement but that some oncologists are telling their MBC patients that one goal of treatment for MBC is to provide a possible cure, or simply failing to mention the fact that MBC is incurable. Clearly, many of our doctors have not specialized in communication, but I believe that we can change that dynamic. It takes a team working together. As patients, we need to co-captain that team.