- Question from Fitz: I'm a two-time breast cancer survivor, and I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't been able to stop smoking, even though my oncologist keeps telling me to. So I've been lying to him about this. I just can't take him being angry with me on top of everything else. What should I do?
- Answers - Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. Sometimes doctors get on a pony and don't get off! Your doctor probably feels that he is doing his job by continuing to urge you to quit, since doctors are often told they don't tell patients often enough to stop smoking. From a medical standpoint, women on tamoxifen who smoke are at an increased risk of blood clots. If this is not an issue in your case, stopping smoking is more of a lung cancer prevention and general health concern. I don't think your doctor will view you differently if you 'confess.' And your doctor may be able to help you hook into places that can help you quit if and when you're so inclined. This is clearly something that is weighing on you, and it's probably worth getting off your chest.
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. There's only so much you can do at one particular time. Dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis and all the treatment decisions, and following through and getting those treatments is more than a full-time job.
- Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. Amen!
- Marisa Weiss, M.D. If there are a lot of other things you also feel you need to do, write them on a list. Look at that list every once in a while and tell yourself that you will get to those items as soon as you feel more ready and able. If smoking cessation is one of the things on the list, put it toward the top. But also put at the top of the list things that give you pleasure and fulfillment. Helping you live your life and enjoy your life is the bottom line; it's integral to the mission of www.breastcancer.org.
On Wednesday, February 19, 2003, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called The Doctor-Patient Relationship. Jennifer Griggs, M.D., M.P.H. and Marisa Weiss, M.D. answered your questions about how to find the right doctor for you, and how to create and maintain a good, open relationship with your doctor so you can be sure to get all the care and information you need.
The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.
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