Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: oceanus on January 29, 2013, 04:08:00 PM

Title: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: oceanus on January 29, 2013, 04:08:00 PM
I recently found out that a former co-worker died (8 yrs ago) of colon cancer.  He was 51 yrs old.  After running into a mutual acquaintance who I hadn’t seen in many years, I researched and found the obituary which said “he passed away after a 2 yr battle with colon cancer”.

My own mother died over 25 yrs ago of colon cancer which had gone into the liver – she was only 61 yrs old.

A very good friend of mine came over a few months ago.  She was talking about her great health plan at work.  She is 57 and I happened to ask her if she has had a colonoscopy.  She hasn’t.  I encouraged her to do so and explained I had one a couple years ago, and it’s a smart thing to do.

I was thinking of ‘nudging’ my friend………maybe an email encouraging her to get the test done for her own peace of mind.  Is that okay?  We are good friends and I don’t think she would resent it.  But, well, I don’t know if this would be appropriate.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: EMuir on January 29, 2013, 04:16:17 PM
I don't think it would be appropriate.  If she has a history of colon cancer in her family then she may get one done. There are (admittedly small) risks to a colonoscopy and if she doesn't have a history of colon problems in her family then her having one done may be for your peace of mind and not hers.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: cass2591 on January 29, 2013, 04:30:30 PM
While your intentions are good, your method is not. You've mentioned it once, leave it alone. She's a grown woman who is free to make her own decisions whether you agree with them or not.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: ClaireC79 on January 29, 2013, 04:33:56 PM
But she wouldnt be having the test for HER peace of mind, she'd be having it for YOURS
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: Sharnita on January 29, 2013, 04:35:09 PM
I agree that you can't go any further.  You've mentioned your concern. Pushing further might actually get your friend's back up and make her more resistant.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: oceanus on January 29, 2013, 04:47:35 PM
Hmmmm.  Thanks folks.  I can see everyone's point.   :)

ETA:  I reminded myself of a coworker who (after her sister died of breast cancer) periodically reminded women to get mammograms.  She took her sister’s death very hard, and while I felt bad for her, I didn’t like it when every now and then she would ask “Have you have a mammogram?”
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: snowdragon on January 29, 2013, 07:27:20 PM
I would have no problem telling someone that I only discuss medical matters with my dr. if you pushed it past that I would tell you to mind your own business. This is a personal area and one I don't brook intrusion into
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: JoyinVirginia on January 29, 2013, 09:24:11 PM
I had never had a colonoscopy despite my doctor encouraging it. A good friend showed up at a party and mentioned he was still recovering from surgery and couldn't lift anything. Of course someone said ”what happened?” And he said he had colon cancer discovered from a routine colonoscopy, and it was early enough that the cancer had not spread.
I made my colonoscopy appt the next week.
I also worked with a woman who had breast cancer discovered on a routine mammogram. She is over 5 years cancer free now. After her diagnosis she asked all of her friends if they had scheduled their mammograms yet.
Neither of these individuals had any family history of cancer or outstanding risk factors.
Remind her.  This is something nice to do for people you care about.
Out is not rude to remind people that cancer screening saves lives. It would be rude to nag people after informing them of that fact.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: kareng57 on January 29, 2013, 09:27:56 PM
I had never had a colonoscopy despite my doctor encouraging it. A good friend showed up at a party and mentioned he was still recovering from surgery and couldn't lift anything. Of course someone said ”what happened?” And he said he had colon cancer discovered from a routine colonoscopy, and it was early enough that the cancer had not spread.
I made my colonoscopy appt the next week.
I also worked with a woman who had breast cancer discovered on a routine mammogram. She is over 5 years cancer free now. After her diagnosis she asked all of her friends if they had scheduled their mammograms yet.
Neither of these individuals had any family history of cancer or outstanding risk factors.
Remind her.  This is something nice to do for people you care about.
Out is not rude to remind people that cancer screening saves lives. It would be rude to nag people after informing them of that fact.


I understand that you have good intentions, however many people are not comfortable sharing medical info with anyone other than very close family.  I certainly am not.  I would not feel kindly towards anyone who questioned me re "have you had a mammogram/colonscopy?"
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: Sharnita on January 29, 2013, 09:40:35 PM
I had never had a colonoscopy despite my doctor encouraging it. A good friend showed up at a party and mentioned he was still recovering from surgery and couldn't lift anything. Of course someone said ”what happened?” And he said he had colon cancer discovered from a routine colonoscopy, and it was early enough that the cancer had not spread.
I made my colonoscopy appt the next week.
I also worked with a woman who had breast cancer discovered on a routine mammogram. She is over 5 years cancer free now. After her diagnosis she asked all of her friends if they had scheduled their mammograms yet.
Neither of these individuals had any family history of cancer or outstanding risk factors.
Remind her.  This is something nice to do for people you care about.
Out is not rude to remind people that cancer screening saves lives. It would be rude to nag people after informing them of that fact.

OP already reminded her.  repeatedly asking her isn't reminding, it is hounding.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: peaches on January 29, 2013, 09:45:48 PM
I had never had a colonoscopy despite my doctor encouraging it. A good friend showed up at a party and mentioned he was still recovering from surgery and couldn't lift anything. Of course someone said ”what happened?” And he said he had colon cancer discovered from a routine colonoscopy, and it was early enough that the cancer had not spread.
I made my colonoscopy appt the next week.
I also worked with a woman who had breast cancer discovered on a routine mammogram. She is over 5 years cancer free now. After her diagnosis she asked all of her friends if they had scheduled their mammograms yet.
Neither of these individuals had any family history of cancer or outstanding risk factors.
Remind her.  This is something nice to do for people you care about.
Out is not rude to remind people that cancer screening saves lives. It would be rude to nag people after informing them of that fact.

I understand that you have good intentions, however many people are not comfortable sharing medical info with anyone other than very close family.  I certainly am not.  I would not feel kindly towards anyone who questioned me re "have you had a mammogram/colonscopy?"

I agree.

I think it's great to donate to or join groups that support public education campaigns, that publicize (through interviews, articles, billboards or whatever) the importance of screenings and recognizing symptoms of diseases.

Or, if someone brings the topic up, it's fine to discuss your views and experiences.

But cross examining friends and family about their personal health decisions is inappropriate.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: katycoo on January 29, 2013, 10:39:20 PM
You mentioned it.  She knows.

You should only mention it again if it comes up in the course of the discussion and you are commenting on your own.

I apreciate that you care about her and want her to be protected against all the nasty things a colonoscopy might discover.  But you aren't her parent, and you risk damaging the friendship.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: HoneyBee42 on January 30, 2013, 06:52:14 AM
I agree.  I worked in an office where one co-worker was a breast cancer survivor and another one was diagnosed w/ stage 3 breast cancer.  While I took the urgings to get a mammogram as just part of their means of coping with the situation they were dealing with, it did seem really inappropriate.    (I no longer work with either of them for reasons totally unrelated to the cancer/mammogram urgings.  One retired, one took a different position w/ employer.)  Even amongst close friends, I'd find it inappropriate--people who are old enough for these tests (mammograms and colonoscopies) are adults who are competent enough to manage their own health ... and unless the individual specifically says "I have not had [insert screening test]", one really can't know that they haven't already done so and are just choosing to be private about their medical health matters.  So initially responding as the OP did (in response to the conversation that developed) is fine, bringing it up again later without the person again saying something to invite the conversation really isn't.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: ettiquit on January 30, 2013, 07:25:42 AM
I find it tiring when people decide it's their job to manage other people's healthcare.  My best friend's mom had colon cancer last year (caught early and she's fine now), and the whole family became very active in promoting colon cancer awareness.  I really appreciated that my friend did not project her fears onto me, and did not even suggest that I get a colonoscopy because she trusts me to make my own decisions about my own health. 

As I understand it, your friend is of an age where colonoscopy's are generally recommended so it was ok to mention it to her, although I'd think her doctor would be recommending it as well if they think it's necessary.

One other thing to consider is that there is some controversy over the effectiveness of mammograms, and I'm sure a lot of people feel very strongly about it on both sides.  Because of this, I would never presume that it's appropriate to push someone to get one.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: Winterlight on January 30, 2013, 08:26:38 AM
You mentioned it once, so let it go. Repeated mentions quickly become nagging.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: DaDancingPsych on January 30, 2013, 09:09:22 AM
I had never had a colonoscopy despite my doctor encouraging it. A good friend showed up at a party and mentioned he was still recovering from surgery and couldn't lift anything. Of course someone said ”what happened?” And he said he had colon cancer discovered from a routine colonoscopy, and it was early enough that the cancer had not spread.
I made my colonoscopy appt the next week.
I also worked with a woman who had breast cancer discovered on a routine mammogram. She is over 5 years cancer free now. After her diagnosis she asked all of her friends if they had scheduled their mammograms yet.
Neither of these individuals had any family history of cancer or outstanding risk factors.
Remind her.  This is something nice to do for people you care about.
Out is not rude to remind people that cancer screening saves lives. It would be rude to nag people after informing them of that fact.

OP already reminded her.  repeatedly asking her isn't reminding, it is hounding.

I agree. I think that the OP has already done a good deed by encouraging it. Now it's up to friend to make the decision.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: RingTailedLemur on January 30, 2013, 09:15:27 AM
I agree with PPs.

Also, if I were her, I would be squicked out that you were thinking and talking about such a private part of my body.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: Mannerless on January 30, 2013, 09:17:13 AM
About 3 years ago, my best friend in the whole world died from colon cancer at the young age of 41.  I still think every now and then how I should call her about something silly I saw in the grocery store (like Rachel Ray brand dog food, or something cute my 7 year old did.  But I can't.

If your friend has a history of cancer in her family, I might be inclined to pursue it a bit more, but if she seems uncomfortable by it, you should leave it alone.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on January 30, 2013, 10:46:45 AM
Only if she asked you to remind her. 
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: Tea Drinker on January 30, 2013, 12:39:22 PM
In this case, no.

I was visiting friends this past weekend, and one of them said something about my prescription pills, and I thanked her for the reminder: but this is a very close friend, with whom I have discussed my health, and I had the pill container out in the open (rather than tucked away in my bag). I wouldn't appreciate random acquaintances asking if I am taking my medicine properly, or whether/how recently I've had some medical test, and my friend knew that. Nonetheless, after taking the medicine I thanked her and reiterated that I appreciated the reminder, rather than feeling nagged.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: amandaelizabeth on January 30, 2013, 03:14:49 PM
Eight years ago my life was saved by a mammogram.  There is no history of cancer in my extended family and I was not feeling unwell.  As i was too young to qualify for the free programme, I paid to have it done.  I am not sure why I had one, it was just a nagging feeling at the back of my mind.  As I say it saved my life.

I set up a scheme so that  our employees (who are all women) could get one yearly if they wanted too.  It costs less than one cappachino a week.  Every year on the anniversary of my mammogram I send a reminder to everyone I know about getting a check and asking them to remind all the women in their life to get one too.  So far three other women have found symptoms and been treated and to date they are still with us.

Rude - maybe? but I am glad that I am still here to ask them.   
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: Moray on January 30, 2013, 03:23:22 PM
Eight years ago my life was saved by a mammogram.  There is no history of cancer in my extended family and I was not feeling unwell.  As i was too young to qualify for the free programme, I paid to have it done.  I am not sure why I had one, it was just a nagging feeling at the back of my mind.  As I say it saved my life.

I set up a scheme so that  our employees (who are all women) could get one yearly if they wanted too.  It costs less than one cappachino a week.  Every year on the anniversary of my mammogram I send a reminder to everyone I know about getting a check and asking them to remind all the women in their life to get one too.  So far three other women have found symptoms and been treated and to date they are still with us.

Rude - maybe? but I am glad that I am still here to ask them.

So you say it once a year, and happen to have set up a program encouraging them? Awesome. That's not what the OP was suggesting. She was wondering if, having already mentioned it once, she should bug them again. The consensus has been "No."

Making a general PSA once is fine. Continuing to hound isn't.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: onyonryngs on January 30, 2013, 03:30:55 PM
Maybe post something on your FB page periodically, but generally it's not ok to hound people about medical procedures.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: Dragonflymom on January 30, 2013, 04:34:19 PM
I tend to start distancing myself from any friend or relative who harps on me about anything medical or diet related.  My body, my business.  I'll give advice to others if asked, otherwise it's their body, their business too.  I figure it's their issue to sort out with their own doctors, just like my issues are mine.
Title: Re: Okay to remind friend to get medical test?
Post by: oceanus on January 30, 2013, 06:29:54 PM
I'm not going to say anything; decided yesterday (see post #5) that it's not a good idea.