Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cancer and a Doctor

Please read the 'Current News - Cancer and psychology' section on the right pane of this blog for invaluable info.

Psychological condition of a cancer patient plays an important role in defining how much effective a treatment will be. We often tend to ignore this fact. Role of doctors, family members and friends define the outline of the psychological frame of a sick person. This is more significant in case of middle aged Asian female patients.

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) also emphasizes the importance of psychology as it has a noticeable influence on the immune system.

The role of Doctors in this context is very much important. A cancer patient knows it very well that he/she won’t survive for a long. So he/she comes to a doctor with a certain amount of suspicions and negative vibes. Doctor also knows that he has a limitation - whether the medicine will work or not and even if works for how long.

Another important factor is the huge expense of treatment. In countries like India, where the females are in a relatively receiving end of various injustices, such a huge expense causes tremendous pressure on their minds. They start to develop a guilty conscience which often becomes a cause to lose interest about life.

Soma was treated in 3 leading cancer hospitals in Mumbai, India. During her 6 years of treatment period I met quite a few doctors.

One of them was an onco-surgeon. He was young, dynamic and very much efficient. But what I discovered was that his heart was filled with kindness for patients and their families.

One patient came from outside of Mumbai. He wasn’t much literate and belonged to lower stratum of income group. The patient needed an immediate surgery followed by chemotherapy and it would cost him around 2 lakhs in Indian rupee. The patient was in typical circumstances as he couldn’t arrange that much of money at a short notice. He had to sale his property to raise the amount.

Here that onco-surgeon stepped in and cordially talked to the patient. The doctor didn’t charge his fees and further personally contributed and requested other Doctors also to contribute money for the patient’s treatment. The doctor arranged around Rs. 1.75 lakhs.

Later on I heard from the hospital staffs that this particular doctor helped cancer victims in all the possible ways. In many cases he didn’t even charge his consultation fee. He seemed to me like a shinny oasis in the desert of hopelessness. I had to salute his compassion and feelings for the cancer patients. Unfortunately, the number of doctors like him is very low. Hope it increases with time, because only compassion and affectionate behavior may help a cancer patient to sustain.

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