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Becoming Your Own Health Advocate After a Cancer Diagnosis

By: Anapol Weiss

Patients and their families will likely feel lost and overwhelmed following a cancer diagnosis. The Q&A section of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently addressed the process and the steps patients can take to understand what’s about to happen.

Lewis Rose, M.D., a medical oncologist at Nazareth Hospital, explains that for many, understanding and learning to cope with the diagnosis and treatment process are the hardest parts of the situation. In addition to openly communicating with the oncologist, Rose offers the following tips:

Becoming Your Own Health Advocate After a Cancer DiagnosisBecoming Your Own Health Advocate After a Cancer Diagnosis

Know the details of your diagnosis. This involves getting answers about:

  • The type of cancer you have
  • The primary cancer site
  • The stage of cancer you have
  • The natural course of the disease without treatment
  • The goals of that treatment
  • Available treatments and their impact on the quantity and quality of your life

Discuss your overall health care with the oncologist. It’s important to talk about current medical conditions and medications that may affect your treatment plan.

Bring someone to your appointments if possible. A second set of ears is always helpful, and that trusted advocate can also provide emotional support.

Ask questions. “Understanding the cancer and what your body is going through will help inform your decisions and may ease your mind,” Rose says.

It’s important for patients to act as their own health advocates and to play a role in the decision-making process involving screening and treatment for any medical condition. At the same time, physicians are expected to meet the standard of care in caring for their patients.

Unfortunately, even the best informed patient can suffer the health consequences of a medical mistake or medical misdiagnosis. Contact Anapol Weiss to speak with a Pennsylvania or New Jersey medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect your medical outcome was negatively impacted by negligence. For decades, we have been successfully advocating for victims medical negligence, and we are prepared to help you with your medical malpractice lawsuit.