Saturday, October 06, 2007

the big C

which stands for cancer. My current rotation will be finished by next week. Few weeks ago when I commenced this rotation, I'm not sure of what I'm going to learn as this is quite advanced and involved sub-specialty.

Reflecting back on the past few weeks, there are some surprises in this rotation. Previously I thought that I will be learning on how to diagnose and treat few major cancers. Just know few chemotherapy drugs, radiotherapy and surgical options and that will be sufficient for my level.

I never thought the impact of cancer on the patient and their family. Some cancers were diagnosed at late stage and the only option for treatment is palliative. The patients might have few days or weeks to live. Some patients died on the ward and some passed away at home. Some patients have early stage of cancer and there is still hope for them but chemotherapy has some nasty side effects.

This rotation introduces me to psychological impact of aggressive disease towards patient and their relatives. I have learned few tips on how to tell the patient that they might have cancer. It is not an easy task to do though. Another challenge will be for the relatives. If the patient has young children, the oncologist needs to discuss with the patient the best way to tell the children the concept of dying.

This reminds me of my own experience watching my auntie passed away when I was 7 years old. I didn't understand that she is leaving forever and I only partially comprehend the concept when I never met her for a long time after that.

I close this entry with these verses from al-Quran.

He will say: "What number of years did ye stay on earth?"
They will say: "We stayed a day or part of a day: but ask those who keep account."
He will say: "Ye stayed not but a little,- if ye had only known!
"Did ye then think that We had created you in jest, and that ye would not be brought back to Us (for account)?"

[al-Mu'minun: 112-115]


arsaili said...

Cancer is nightmare - but there must be a good reason for Allah inflict this terminal dieases. Watching two of my aunty dying from cancer - all the suffer and the pain make me realised that how lucky we are - may Allah protect from this terminal diease.

hafiz238 said...

Being involved in the medical field expose me to the way of human coping with the burden of disease. There are different way on facing terminal illness.

In term of cancer, sometimes the cause of the cancer is not known and most people will like to know why do they have cancer. The answer to this question is relatively difficult and it is hard to satisfy them.

Hopefully we will be able to be strong in such circumstances. Easier said than done.

mosh said...

a very nice way of putting matters of life and death down.

Sarah Mohd Shukor said...

Dealing with patients with cancers always make me pray: O, Allah. Protect me n my family from this disease. If You wish so, take us in gentle way. Don't You let any of us suffer for a long time. For You the one who controls everything. For You who knows what's the best for us.

hafiz238 said...

moshimoshi: thank you.

sarah: that is a good du'a. thank you for sharing.