Receiving a terminal diagnosis can be terrifying. Like newborn babies need parental support to come to grips with the sensory overload of coming into this world, terminal patients need their loved ones to be there for them when they’ve been handed a definite lease on life.

Here’s how you can effectively support a loved one diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Prioritize Their Wishes

Although a physician makes their diagnosis and prognosis based on objective material, the patient sees their illness through a subjective lens. Thus, you can’t exactly predict your loved one’s reactions, thoughts, and wishes during such a time.

You have to ask them to get any definitive answers about how they plan on spending their remaining time and whether they would like you to help them with practical end-of-life affairs.

If they want to receive care at home, make sure they get the best palliative care. You don’t have to wait until the illness has reached an advanced stage to hire palliative services. You can and should start as soon as your loved one receives their diagnosis and an implicit prognosis to improve their quality of life.

Know the Right Way to Talk About Death

Talking about death isn’t easy, and getting it wrong could make your loved one feel lonely despite your physical presence. There are several reasons you may not be ready to interact, let alone talk about death, with a dying person, such as:

  • Not wanting to face your own mortality.
  • Not having the time.
  • Not possessing the emotional reserves to interact with the elephant in the room.
  • Feelings of guilt over any signs you might’ve overlooked.
  • Your recent interpersonal dynamics with your loved one before they received the diagnosis.

On the flip side, not every patient wants to talk about death. Some crave reassurance, others want empathy, and others still want to talk, from a lot to just a little. Once again, communication is the key to knowing exactly what your loved one expects from you during this difficult time.

Take Care of the Practical Aspect of Dying

There are three practical aspects to dying that most of us don’t even think about until months after our loved one gets their prognosis. These include medical decisions in the advance directive or healthcare power of attorney, which includes everything from do-not-resuscitate orders to life support options, such as mechanical ventilation, artificial nutrition and hydration, and kidney dialysis.

You may also have to arrange hospice care, which could provide effective pain management drugs, symptom relief, and support to your loved ones.

Ask your loved one while they’re still able to make their own decisions about how they want their funeral and get their consent to get any financial or legal affairs of theirs in order. Ask them if there’s anything else they might need from you over and over again because they might not be that forthcoming the first or second time around.

Find Support for Patients on The Doctor Connect

Healthcare professionals, terminally ill patients, survivors, caretakers, and loved ones can tune in to The Doctor Connect, a TV show dedicated to medical professional development and cancer support for everyone involved.

Watch and learn from uplifting personal stories from people who’ve been there, done that, and check o success strategy, a book about cancer and mindset written by Dr. Liudmila Schafer, a gastrointestinal oncologist and medical trainer.

Consult digital doctors via the TV show today.


Throat Cancer Warning Signs

May 06, 2022

It wasn’t a big deal until Jose realized that his throat was persistently sore and its hoarseness wouldn’t go away. In the cancer survivor stories shared by The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the victim suffers from an early stage of laryngeal cancer. An early diagnosis of the disease helps him save his life. Throat cancer refers to the process of abnormal cell development either in the larynx or the pharynx. Some studies consider throat cancer also to affect the esophagus. There are three broad types of throat cancer, including:

Nasopharyngeal cancer: This type of cancer begins in the muscular throat assemblage behind your nose.

Hypopharyngeal cancer: The type of cancer ensues in the part of the throat just above the windpipe.

Oropharyngeal cancer: Oropharyngeal cancer begins in the part of the throat right behind the mouth.

Many people mistake the symptoms of throat cancer with routine sore throat glitches. It’s advised that all persons with persistent throat ache should consult a doctor immediately.

As a doctor, you can do so much by spreading awareness about the symptoms of throat cancer. All you need is a credible platform for professional doctors on TV. Why not get in touch with The Doctor Connect to benefit from video beneficial programs for doctors?

Here are some unmissable warning signs for throat cancer:

Sore Throat            

A usual sore throat is caused by viral infections. These may hurt temporarily, but a sore throat is bound to improve within 3 to 4 days. We’re talking about persisting sore throat here. If you can get it detected, a sore throat can be the earliest sign of throat cancer. Stay super vigilant if you experience a sore throat that won’t get better within days. In most cases, the sore throat gets worse with time.

Swelling on the Lymph Nodes

The clot-like part of your neck is what constitutes the lymph nodes. They are there to protect your body from germs. If you feel your lymph nodes are tender or painful at times, it’s a sign your body is fighting some illness. The question is when to worry about swollen lymph nodes? It’s time to see a doctor when your lymph nodes seem to feel harder. Often, node-hardening would be accompanied by mild fever.

Pain Swallowing

The constant feeling there’s something stuck in the throat, and frequent choking and eating difficulties can be an alarming signs of throat cancer. Mouth, throat, and esophageal cancers are often responsible for a long-term difficulty in swallowing due to the swelling of the lymph nodes.

Online cancer awareness programs for patients help them understand their illness better. The TV show, The Doctor Connect helps connect health professionals with a larger audience looking for medical care and guidance.

Online doctor training programs and life coaching services are now readily available. The Doctor Connect hosts doctor coaching programs for doctors and physicians willing to share their insightful stories with the audience. Subscribe to our show for more insightful healthcare stories.

Pre-order Dr. Liudmila Schafer’s book Success Strategy to hone your leadership skills.