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b : easily detected or seen through : obvious
c : readily understood
d : characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices

When you were told you had lung cancer was your doctor transparent? It has been the experience of many that various health notifications from their care team may differ. Perhaps you may have been greeted with a caring doctor, who broke down your condition with a soothing sign of empathy. Then there are those who have the subtlety of a gnat. In some cases, it’s those with a negative disposition that may actually break down the seriousness of the disease, through transparency.

Why is it important?

In this new day in age where this word “Transparency” is thrown into the mix of everyday conversation, it holds great importance. Lung cancer is such a disease that can change drastically, and many are properly diagnosed at a later stage. It’s unfortunate that many people have to endure long and drawn out testing and the results may be assumptions. When the smoke clears as to what really is going on you want a doctor that is going to be truthful with you, and one who breaks down the conclusion with clarity. Transparency doesn’t mean throwing you false hopes if the tests show an unsettling result.

As I mentioned prior my mom’s cancer was quick…or should I say when she was finally diagnosed things happened quickly. When we viewed the final x-ray slides of my mother’s lungs, we were mortified. The image of her lungs was not even visible, all we got from it was cancer covering her entire lungs. As I looked up at my aunt (a nurse) who knew what it meant and seeing her visibly shaken I knew there was little possibility of hope. I along with my mother may have appreciated the true transparency earlier than when it was finally received.

Doctor, do you know what you’re doing?

At times, do you wonder what is actually going on in the head of your team, when they move around you without advising options in this time and in this space? Speaking from a caregiver’s place, it’s daunting to work with individuals who may not see it from our perspective. The questions and though they are many, these questions at times exist because the situation was not properly explained. We don’t wish to be a nuisance but transparency is what we’re after.

Communicating with empathy and honesty

When a care team expresses truth then we can move about our circumstances in the best way that is the most viable. When a patient feels they are being shunned or pushed aside, chances of them truly opening up on their symptoms may be minimal. When a patient loses faith in the team and stops alerting everyone with how they feel — well that is a losing battle. Everyone whether the patient, doctor, the nurse has to be transparent. The doctors have a responsibility to actively and effectively treat the patient with the best care, and the patients have to be honest on how they really feel, and what it has been like for them. If the best care is not evident, then a second opinion or new team has to be brought on.

The bottom line — The more transparency that is presented when treating lung cancer, the better for all in receiving the proper care.

The time to fight is now, with integrity, grace, hope, and a smile….when you feel like it

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

  1. The Oncologist. A Touchy Subject: Can Physicians Improve Value by Discussing Costs and Clinical Benefits With Patients? Accessed on November 28 2018.