Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to Comfort Cancer Patients - Doctor Entertains to Relief Stress

My opinion:  Whenever I read articles or discuss medical specialties with others, the one key point they give me is this: DON'T go into oncology.  Many sources tell me that the death rate is so high, and it is incredibly distressing for doctors and patients, alike.  I know that there is a doctor shortage in all areas, and although I've never read it, I believe that oncology might be one of the hardest hit areas because medical students will not want to deal with so many deaths.  As an advocate for improved doctor-patient communication, I think this idea is just fantastic.  What's even better is that each song is personalized, helping the patient relate to it even more.  Some patients might prefer other types of activities during chemotherapy, such as poetry, but there are certainly many patients who will enjoy song-making.  Just a few questions.  May the doctor and the patient be the performer (or writer) or the audience at different times?  Or is only one way better?  Also, when making songs, is it possible to prevent them from becoming sad or disheartening?  What goes into making a happier, more hopeful song?  Feel free to comment.

Steven Eisenberg's Chemotopia: The Singing Doctor Who Will Melt Your Heart

An oncologist walks into a room full of patients in varying stages of cancer treatment, living each day scan to scan, some of whom have lost all their hair. He's got the standards: A white lab coat, his trusty stethoscope, and... a guitar?
Meet Dr. Steven Eisenberg, founder of Chemotopia, a San Diego-based initiative that makes every effort to lessen the blow of cancer treatment. He writes and sings songs to patients undergoing chemotherapy.
How can utopia, a word that implies a perfect world, ever be connected to cancer? Eisenberg explains that while chemo can be one of the scariest of all treatments, he wanted to create a place where patients understood every step of treatment, and where doctors were compassionate. A place where hi-tech meets hi-touch.
While Eisenberg uses song (each one is tailored to a specific patient's journey) as another aspect of care and "an anthem to listen to when they're really down and out," he recognizes that not all doctors will turn to music. The main goal is to redefine patient-doctor communication. Chemotopia urges patients and doctors to form a powerful relationship based on clear conversation by joining compassion and care with technology. The belief is that healing can begin once the doors of communication open.
At the end of the day, "Chemotopia is about having people get into the deepest part of themselves... that they are not their cancer," he says. "Cancer doesn't define a person. It's transformative, even for those who are incurable."

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