The last thing you need when you've been diagnosed with cancer is someone on the sidelines shouting, 'hey....you're off sides!'...'hustle, hustle!'...'stop doggin' it, you're gonna lose it for the whole TEAM!'
Good thing this is NOT what a cancer coach does. Cancer coaches are people recruited by advocacy groups and hospitals to provide objective support for newly diagnosed cancer patients. These coaches, according to USA Today, are often times survivors themselves and are either trained volunteers or paid workers.
Whether amateur or professional, a good cancer coach should offer these things, experts say:
•Support: an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold.
•Resources: reliable information or help getting it, and only if the patient wants it.
•Objectivity: a willingness to help patients discover what is best for them, rather than to validate the coach's own cancer battle and choices.
Why are networks of cancer coaches popping up all over the country?
People who have been diagnosed with cancer have reported experiencing a sort of bombardment of opinions and warnings from friends and family - a phenomenon that threatens to send the term 'support network' - a phrase often afforded to just such people - off the edge and into the depths of irony.
The article did not provide study data on how effectively a cancer coach or any other person offering support can contribute to helping a person make the right decision for their treatment.
Other factors that can ultimately influence a person's decision, according to Dr. C. Kent Osborne, breast cancer specialist at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, are "personal values and risk tolerance." (USA Today)
These same factors, in my humble opinion, also influence young men all across the nation to play tackle football in junior high school.
Dr. C. Kent Osborne's clinical interests include breast disease and breast cancer. He is board certified by American Board of Internal Medicine and American Board of Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology. He practices in Houston, Texas.