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Chronic Illness - Chronic Pain Articles Available to Read and Reprint

When Your Doctor Will Not Listen to
      Medical Breakthroughs That May Help Your Illness

By Lisa Copen

pillsWe hear it on the news practically every evening "A new study shows..." "The latest medical research..." "Exciting new medical reports on..." Whether it’s on the television, radio, in print or online, the "latest medical news" gets our attention. It has the potential to be exciting news, such as hearing about successful studies regarding our illness. Or, sometimes the news isn’t good. We may hear that our medical condition is more serious than we believed or the medication we are taking more harmful than we thought. But even if the news is promising, exciting, and encouraging--what then? Should we tell our doctors what we have heard? And when we do, why do they seem skeptical?

The media loves a good story. With the increasing interest in fitness and being your own health advocate, the media knows that you’ll pay attention to new study results. Medical journalists are to report factually correct information, and generally, they do so reliably. Many physicians, however, feel that research results are often given to the media with little regard to the patients who are affected by their reports.

Robert V. Johnson, M.D., Associate Medical Editor of the Mayo Health Oasis says, "Even when accurate, I'm often skeptical that general medical news is helpful. The controlled circumstances of a research study give physicians a better understanding of the course of an illness or its response to treatment. It's often much more difficult to decide the usefulness of this information in practice and especially for an individual patient."

"We're often skeptical about claims of ‘cures,’" he says, "because we've often been down that road before."

He explains that when experienced physicians are given the results of a particular research study, they put it into context, considering the value the information may have to their patients.

Although it’s always a good idea to discuss what you hear on the news with your physician, be aware that oftentimes, the media picks up the preliminary reports, and the research in not yet complete. People who are participating in the study may be having desirable results; however, it’s unlikely that your physician can prescribe the treatment for you.

The many levels of research must be completed, the results approved by the FDA, and given FDA approval for distribution. Physicians often even become frustrated when they see these reports inspiring hope in their patients, because they are aware that is highly possible that the research will prove to be fruitless within time. "Though there are times when the latest research changes our practice quickly," says Johnson, " most challenging medical problems require a ‘wait and see’ approach." This can be frustrating for the patient who is in pain and looking for answers.

The Mayo Health O@sis recommends the following:

Maintain a hopeful, yet questioning, approach to new information about your medical condition. Don't believe everything you read or hear--the information may be correct, but still misleading if it doesn't pertain to your specific circumstances.

Let your physician know about your concerns and interests. Let a caregiver who knows your circumstances counsel you about when or whether to pursue a new treatment or investigation. Sometimes this means you'll wait; sometimes it means you'll check it out carefully. Work it out together.

Support research--it's essential for progress. Encourage your physician to share experiences with colleagues and include your health information in research for the benefit of other patients.

Get a free download of 200 ways to reach out to someone who is hurting from Beyond Caseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend when you sign up for hopenotes, a monthly ezine. Author of this article, Lisa Copen is also the founder of Rest Ministries and National Invisible Illness Awareness Week.





Don't forget! This article can be reprinted for free or syndicate Lisa's new articles.