Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium: Attend the Death Cafe

Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium: Attend the Death Cafe

Guest Commentary

Aug 10, 2015
By Timothy J. Moynihan, MD
2015 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium Program Committee Member - See more at: https://connection.asco.org/commentary/improving-communication-palliativ...
By Timothy J. Moynihan, MD
2015 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium Program Committee Member - See more at: https://connection.asco.org/commentary/improving-communication-palliativ...
By Timothy J. Moynihan, MD
2015 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium Program Committee Member - See more at: https://connection.asco.org/commentary/improving-communication-palliativ...
By Timothy J. Moynihan, MD
2015 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium Program Committee Member - See more at: https://connection.asco.org/commentary/improving-communication-palliativ...

By Timothy J. Moynihan, MD
2015 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium Program Committee Member

Oncologists are surrounded by death and the fear of death. The mention of the word “cancer” has for many become synonymous with death, in spite of the rising survival rates and improved outcomes with early detection and improved novel therapies. Thus, much of our careers are spent discussing the topic of death or facing our patients’ fears of death on a daily basis. But how much time do we reflect these encounters back to ourselves and our own lives? How well do we protect ourselves from the erosive nature of ever-present mortality?

Death Cafes have become one avenue to allow individuals to deal with the reality of our own mortality. At the inaugural Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium in 2014, a Death Cafe experience was widely attended and very well received. Once again in 2015, the Symposium is setting aside time, space, and refreshments to give oncologists and all professionals who deal with cancer a safe venue to discuss their experiences with mortality, both their own and their patients. This session has no set agenda, but provides a safe space and a framework to initiate discussions and sharing among colleagues and friends about individual approaches to and means of coping with these highly emotional encounters.

Participants will be broken into small discussion groups and supplied with some wine, cookies, and light refreshments to provide a convivial atmosphere. Conversation starters will be suggested for those groups who are unsure of how to begin the process. Each group will explore their own feelings and experiences as well as their own version of their individual mortality.

Please come and join us as we help to support our colleagues, our friends, and ourselves in this profession of oncology.

Dr. Moynihan is Chair of the Inpatient Medical Oncology Program, Chair of the Brain Tumor Clinic, and the Hospice Medical Director at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester. His major focus of research is symptom management, palliative care, and end-of-life care. Dr. Moynihan is a member of the 2015 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium Program Committee. He is Co-Chair of General Session 1, the concurrent session on nonpharmacologic pain management, and the Death Cafe networking event.

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