Essiac and Flor Essence are herbal tea mixtures that are sold worldwide as health tonics or herbal dietary supplements (see Question 1).
Essiac was first promoted as a cancer treatment in the 1920s. Flor Essence was created a number of years later (see Question 2).
Supporters of Essiac and Flor Essence say that these products make the immune system stronger, have anti-inflammatory effects, and show anticancer activity (see Question 3).
Laboratory, animal, and clinical (human) studies...
E liciting the patient's understanding/current concerns.
E ducating the patient.
Addressing E motions.
E nlisting the collaboration of the patient and caregiver.
These skills serve the following purposes:
Establishing patient understanding of their condition and important concerns.
Providing information about the illness and treatment.
Responding to emotions using empathic, validating, and clarifying responses.
Enlisting the patient and family in the treatment plan.
An online lecture titled "Communication and Interpersonal Skills in Cancer Care" further explains these basic skills and may be found on the Web site of the International Psycho-Oncology Society.
The application of basic communication skills to a number of oncologic challenges-including breaking bad news, shared decision making, and dealing with depression and challenging patients-has been outlined.
Clinicians should remember that many patients are anxious about medical visits. Putting patients at ease will allow better assimilation of information; and the skills of inquiring about the patient's point of view, listening without interrupting, and being empathic will be perceived as supportive and caring. As one study  found, the first few moments of the interaction are especially important in forming lasting impressions; a friendly handshake and making eye contact are important first steps in creating trust and rapport. Sitting down puts the health care provider at patient eye level and invites discussion rather than one-way conversation; asking the names and relationships of others in the room acknowledges their potential role as allies in the care of the patient. Inquiring briefly about the patient's hometown, family, or other personal aspects of life helps shift the focus from patienthood to personhood. Not interrupting while patients are talking and acknowledging the importance of their concerns conveys respect for their point of view.
Delivering Bad News
Giving bad news is a frequent and significant communication challenge for oncologists. Moreover, a typical oncologist in practice may give bad news thousands of times over the course of a career. Increased cancer survival now means not only that information regarding the state of the disease and its response to a multitude of treatments over time must be communicated effectively to the patient, but also that adverse information related to irreversible and potentially irreversible side effects, complications of the illness, and the treatment and diminished prospects for the future must be disclosed.