Last year Melissa Shultz interviewed me for an article titled, "What Not to Say to a Cancer Patient." Yesterday she received The Texas Medical Association’s Anson Jones, MD, First Place Award for her piece. Here's an excerpt:
Talking about cancer can be painful and awkward for both the patient and the well-wisher. Here’s advice from cancer survivors and medical professionals on what not to say to someone with cancer, as well as helpful alternatives.
“My friend died of cancer”
Dr. Wendy Harpham, 56, doctor of internal medicine and mother of three from Dallas, learned she had non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1990. As both a patient and a physician, cancer tales have been the narrative of her life for the last 21 years.
“Patients don’t want to hear other people’s bad cancer stories — and sometimes not even good stories — because they’re focused on themselves. It can make them feel badly if you set the bar too high with stories about how well someone did during treatment.”
..."In 1992 I had to close my solo practice to receive more cancer treatment, which meant closing the door on my life-long dream and facing a worsening prognosis.”
When people told her she needed to be positive it only added to her stress and closed the door to talking about her feelings authentically. “It also put a layer of blame on me: If I don’t get well, it will be because I didn’t have a positive enough attitude,” she says.
Congrats and thanks, Melissa.
[Complete article, click here.]