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Suggestions for Discussing Symptoms With Your Medical Team
Robert Wascher, MD, FACS, Ernest Rosenbaum, MD, Alexandra Andrews, Charles M. Dollbaum, MD, PhD, Karen Ritchie, MD, Sarah Schorr, RN, BSN, Francine Manuel, RPT, Jean Chan, BA, MA, SEd, Richard Shapiro, MD

1. Keep a daily symptom diary and make three copies; one for yourself, one for your doctor/caregiver to share your symptoms with, and one to be placed in your medical records.
2. Examples of noteworthy observations:

A) Time of pain or other symptom occurrence
B) Type of pain (i.e. stabbing, burning)
C) Pain duration whether chronic or sporadic
D) What triggers the pain?
E) Location of the pain
F) What helps to relieve the pain?

3. Address your needs for symptom management. Make sure that all of the members of your healthcare team are communicating with each other about your pain problem, and that a plan of action is established. If your physician dismisses your complaints with statements such as, It's just phantom pain, or, You're just anxious etc., you may consider discussing your problems with your oncology nurse, other medical support staff or seek a second opinion from a specialist.

Most importantly, remember fatigue, neuropathy or pain do not necessarily mean recurrence of your cancer!!!

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