Empathy In Cancer Care

Posted on:10,Jul'18

Posted by: CancerHelpline

Tags: Empathy In Cance


In our earlier blog post, we discussed the foundations of empathy, and how important it is in healthcare. In this post, we attempt to discuss the importance of empathy in chronic illnesses and cancer, specifically.

Cancer diagnosis is often very devastating, and just information around the diagnosis will not be sufficient to cope with the situation. Empathy plays an important part because of the amount of stress involved in cancer treatment.

If the medical professional cannot display empathy, then patient & families find it to interact and ask questions. If the medical team can provide an empathetic environment, patients may come out, and openly discuss, thereby improving treatment options and outcome.

1. Empathy increases the bond between the patient and the medical professional(s) treating them – In chronic illnesses such as cancer, the treatment period is often very long. In such conditions, it is important to build a relationship with the medical team, which can improve communication & compliance to treatment
2. With the help of empathetic communication, the medical team could make changes to the treatment approach, based on feedback from the patient.
3. If the medical team does not have empathy, it leads to disinterest in the patient. This could also lead to non-compliance, meaning, patients stop going in for treatment.

In a nutshell, while having empathy could improve treatment outcome, lack of empathy could definitely harm the patient & family.

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