Patients With Cancer Are Savvier Than Ever Before

Patients with cancer have so many resources available to them to learn about their disease as well as their treatment options, explained a research nurse from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Patients with breast cancer are living longer and are “very savvy” now, as online resources have placed a wealth of information at their fingertips, explained Margaret “Peg” Campbell, B.SN. RN, a research nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and winner of CURE®’s 2022 Extraordinary Healer® award.

“(Patients) know a lot more than they used to, and so a lot of them will go from trial to trial,” Campbell said in an interview with CURE®. “A clinical trial is an opportunity for them to try out a new drug that could be promising (or it) may not be promising, but they’ve read a lot about (the treatment).”

However, while breast cancer outcomes have improved drastically over the years, there is still no cure for the disease, so patients may sadly face a time when the treatment options stop working, said Campbell.


There's been tremendous progress in cancer treatment now — I've seen a huge change in that. So I guess patient care has changed because patients are living much longer.

We’re dealing with patients going from treatment to treatment for a much longer period of time. For me, personally, it's hard because, you know, I get to know these patients, and a lot of them, they're very savvy now. You've got patients (who) have so many resources at their disposal, now, they can look on clinical, they (can) research all about the treatments that are tailored to their type of breast cancer. They know a lot more than they used to.

A lot of (patients) will go from trial to trial. A clinical trial is kind of an opportunity for them to try out a new drug that could be promising may not be promising. But they've read a lot about (the treatment). A lot of patients have read about it beforehand.

So that's difficult because you do bond with them for a long period of time, and there's no cure still for breast cancer. So eventually the treatments stopped working. That’s the hard part.

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