Where a patient lives may affect what kind of treatment they are offered for their CLL or SLL. However, second opinions and learning about one’s cancer diagnosis can help.
Recent research showed that social determinants of health may influence the treatments that patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) are prescribed. This highlights the importance of patient advocacy in this population, explained Dr. David J. Andorsky, a medical oncologist and hematologist at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers.
“I think with cancer diagnosis, it's always useful to get a second opinion, particularly for a rare condition and that also just helps to reassure a patient that they're getting the best possible care if they hear the same thing from two different people,” Andorsky said in a recent interview with CURE®.
At the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting, Andorsky presented findings from a retrospective trial that analyzed how the prescribing of BTK inhibitors for CLL and SLL is affected by social determinants of health, which the US Department of Health and Human Services defines as, “the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”
Findings from the study, which included a data analysis from more than 2,000 patients, showed that socioeconomic status and Medicaid insurance status did not influence prescribing patterns. However, patients who live in rural or urban areas did tend to experience a difference in the therapies they were prescribed.
I think patients need to be informed about what the best therapy is for their disease or their condition. So that then they just have a sense they can go into a more informed conversation with their physician. I think with cancer diagnosis, it's always useful to get a second opinion, particularly for a rare condition and that also just helps to reassure a patient that they're getting the best possible care if they hear the same thing from two different people.
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