Risks and Benefits of Patients with Cancer Adopting Foxhole Faith

AONN+ Blog published on August 9, 2021
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
Editor-in-Chief, JONS; Co-Founder, AONN+; University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer, Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Developer, Work Stride-Managing Cancer at Work, Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions

When a patient learns they have cancer, they are petrified. They feel like they are on the frontline of a deadly war and a bullet has sailed over their head, close enough that their hair moved. They will do anything and everything to not get hit by that bullet; therefore, they will gladly sign on for any treatments recommended to them, no matter the side effects or even adverse effects of these treatments. The mission—survival while in that foxhole.

Once a patient completes surgery, chemo, and radiation, they are advised to go on a long-term maintenance drug, like hormonal therapy, for 5 to 10 years. Some do not seem to see its importance as they did with their active treatment because they see themselves as war veterans who have survived the war and are no longer in that foxhole, worried every minute that another bullet will be shot at their head.

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