What doctors say and what patients hear!
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"The learning of new vocabulary is the first step in the attempt to teach medical students and residents how to talk to patients. It is a core feature of a physician's job to educate his or her patients (doctor comes from docere, meaning to teach)."

"But ever wonder about what patients hear? For instance, here're some terms often used by oncologists when discussing cancer treatments with their patients:

• Cancer survivor
What patients hear: Somebody cured of cancer
What doctors mean: Somebody still breathing five years after diagnosis. (So, I’m a cancer survivor. It doesn’t feel like that)

• In remission
What patients hear: Not cured, but cancer won’t be around for a good while
What doctors mean: We can’t see evidence of cancer in your body today

• Benign tumour
What patients hear: It isn’t good news, but it won’t kill me
What doctors mean: You have a mass of tissues growing out of control, but they’re not capable of metastasis

• Malignant tumour
What patients hear: It’s bad news, and it might kill me
What doctors mean: The tumour is capable of metastasis. Depending on the tumour type and stage, it might be bad news and it might kill you . . . or not

• Metastasis
What patients hear: I don’t really know, but it’s very bad news
What doctors mean: Your tumour is capable of spreading systemically through your body and not just to adjacent tissues. If it has already performed this trick, then this is bad news

• Incurable
What patients hear: Terminal
What doctors mean: We can’t cure it. But, depending on the grade and type, we might be able to keep it at bay for a long time"

"Do these misunderstandings hamper patient care? Well, not if the doctor closes the gap by explaining what he or she means—or, better still, avoids the more slippery terms altogether."

"The development of such a language, securely founded in shared meanings, would be a good first step towards better communication between professionals and patients."

Andrew McDonald (PhD), the author of this article, is chair of the disability rights charity Scope and former chief executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Source: https://www.bmj.com/content/354/bmj.i4453
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I' ve a book "What doctors say, what patients hear" Written by Danielle ofri, MD
Jun 7, 2020Like