Outcomes Are Best When Patients With Cancer Are as Aware of Their Disease as Their Provider, Expert Says

Patients with cancer are encouraged to learn more about their disease from evidenced-based sources and not “Dr. Google.”

After being diagnosed with cancer, patients should refrain from immediately consulting “Dr. Google,” according to a nurse specialist.

“Often patients, as soon as they’re diagnosed, they run to Google or they’re talking to family and friends,” Stephanie Jackson, a clinical nurse specialist at UCLA Health in Los Angeles, said in an interview with CURE®’s sister publication, Oncology Nursing News®. “Whether they’re at an academic medical center or even a community setting (they should) speak with their medical team and see what reputable sources they can look at.

Jackson mentioned that sources like the American Cancer Society and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society can help patients learn about their disease. This kind of education empowers patients to be more involved in their care, which, in turn, has shaped the field of health care in recent decades.

“This is when we see the best outcomes for our patients and families — when they are just as aware of their disease as we are with treating them with the best drugs,” Jackson said.

Transcript

I would say not (to consult) Dr. Google. Often patients as soon as they are diagnosed, they run to Google, they're talking to their family and friends. Whether they're at an academic medical center, or even a community setting, speak with their medical team and see what a replicable source is that they can look at.

American Cancer Society, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, these are all evidence-based programs that really provide patients with the top research and providers. Even Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has amazing programs for patients and families to attend where them, as well as their loved ones; their support group can go to and hear our own provider speak and educate them about their illness.

I would also say (to patients to) talk to their providers about what are the best sources they can read and find out about their disease, when they're in the inpatient or outpatient setting is probably the best way they can educate themselves and advocate for themselves, because it really is a partnership.

Many years ago, patients were treated, (and) everything their physicians and providers taught them was gold standard, and they accepted it. Now we live in a world where we do have technology and we should really partner with our patients and empower them to make sure they also know their disease, know what are their treatments and side effects because that's when they can also tell us when we're not in the room, or we're sending them home, they can say, “I read about this side effect, let me report this to my provider.”

So it really is now the era of a partnership. And this is when we see the best outcomes for our patients and families, when they also are just as aware of their disease as we are with treating them with the best drugs.

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