Often times I will spend an hour or an hour and a half with a new patient — with a newly diagnosed breast cancer — just trying to make sure that they have the information that’s pertinent to their particular situation and that they need in order to make the best decision on their own behalf.
We encourage the patients to bring their spouses, their siblings, their children, if they’re adult children, into the meeting. It’s always helpful to have more people listening — and it’s also very helpful for the patient to know that she has a support system that has the same awareness of her situation that she has.
I think one of the greatest causes of anxiety is fear of the unknown. And if we can shine a light on the path going forward that the patient is about to take in the management of her cancer, that light helps to get rid of some of those shadows that are causing the anxiety — and the patient can start to move down that path with much more confidence. And, I think that’s a really good thing for our patients.