National Cancer Institute NCI Cancer Bulletin: A Trusted Source for Cancer Research News
January 8, 2013 • Volume 10 / Number 1

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New Videos from NCI: "Understanding Your Cancer Prognosis"

Screenshot of the Understanding Your Prognosis page

NCI has released a series of five videos for patients and their health care teams about how to understand and talk about cancer prognosis. The goal of the series is to improve how patients and their doctors talk about this difficult subject. The videos address questions patients may have such as, "What are my chances of recovery? Can I be cured? What is the likely course of my disease?" 

The main video, "Understanding Your Cancer Prognosis," features three patients with advanced cancer and their oncologist, Dr. Anthony L. Back of the University of Washington School of Medicine and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Dr. Back is an expert on doctor-patient communication.

Three more videos in the series take a closer look at how each patient approaches questions about his or her future. In "One Couple's Creative Response," an artist and her husband discover how to support each other's need for different kinds of information about her colorectal cancer prognosis. In "Diving Out of the Dark," a patient with non-Hodgkin lymphoma describes how he learned to ask for details about the likely outcome of his treatment. And "From Anger to Acceptance" features a patient with pancreatic cancer who lives each day with the attitude that no doctor can really tell her how long she has to live.

In the fifth video, "For Doctors, a Patient-Centered Approach," Dr. Back coaches other oncologists on how to discuss prognosis with their patients.

The videos and a related fact sheet are available on NCI's website and may be freely used for patient education, medical practice, or training.

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