The Art of Communicating

Oct 24, 2017 | Wendy Hanson | @wendyhanson

shutterstock_352460633As a cancer survivor, there are many opportunities to discuss your care with your providers and it is important your needs are being met. While it can be difficult to stay focused during visits, practicing good communication will help improve your care experience.

Here are some strategies to improve communication with your healthcare team:

  • Write down your questions before your visit. Focus on the most important questions and be specific.
  • Bring a family member or friend with you to the appointment. Ask them to take notes and keep track of your questions and the doctor's responses.
  • Remember that you are in charge - arrive at your appointment prepared with information and ready to ask questions.
  • Ask for clarification on anything you don't understand. To check for understanding, repeat back what you heard and ask for confirmation — "So, you are saying I should..."

"Teamwork: The Cancer Patient's Guide to Talking with Your Doctor" is a helpful publication available from the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. To access this resource please visit and simply type the title in the search bar.

You are your best advocate. Taking an active role in your care will help you take control of what is happening to you. What has been your experience? Have you found this an easy role to assume? If so, what tips do you have to benefit others?

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Cancer Education blog.

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