Falling prey to medical misinformation can have bad consequences: Dr Sarthak Moharir

Dr Sarthak Moharir, MBBS, MD, Radiation Oncology, is currently working as a consultant radiation oncologist at HCG Cancer Centre in Vadodara, Gujarat.

What is the best thing you enjoy about treating patients?

The happiness and elation of telling somebody that they are now free of the disease, which they were suffering from is the best thing.

When is a patient easy to treat?

When patients listen to their doctor, take the medicines as prescribed, and promptly tell us when they feel any side effects of their medicines. As long as patients and their relatives can have a real conversation with their doctor, everything falls into place.

When is a patient difficult to treat?

When patients self-medicate, don’t come for regular mandated follow-ups, decide to stop treatment on their own, our job to treat them becomes very difficult to do.

How helpful is it to the treatment course, if the patient is knowledgeable about the treatment procedure, benefits, risks etc.?

It is very helpful if the patient has some knowledge and understanding about their condition and treatment procedure. However, it’s a double edged sword. When patients read up unreliable information on internet or listen to advices from people who do not have the professional knowledge or experience to understand their condition, it can add to their own anxiety. A lot of valuable time is lost trying to re-condition them.

How can a patient improve his knowledge about the treatment procedure ?

Patients can read up on internet, however they should always come back to their doctors with questions instead of blindly following whatever they read.

How medical misinformation act as a problem in the overall treatment procedure?

It is a very big problem. In my oncology practice, a lot of patients with early stage cancers start self-medicating or go for unreliable treatment methods. They put more trust on unreliable information on the internet than us, and in many cases, they end up with metastatic disease, which lead to bad consequences a lot of times.

A few advice that you always give to your patients

Exercise, eat more fibre and stay happy. Also, for any medical assistance, consult your doctor instead of relying on internet or other people’s words. To become a doctor, a person spends a lot of time learning to do a procedure and managing patients of a particular disease, and so, have faith on your doctor.

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