A Breast Cancer Patient's Wish List
If I Were Queen of the World:
- No cancer patient would go through treatment alone. Everyone would have an advocate assigned to them who would help with coordination of care, give advice as to resources and even hold a hand through treatment.
- Every social worker would be trained to meet the needs of a range of patients. They would understand that a one-size-fits-all approach just doesn’t work and that there are some things you should just never say to a cancer patient.
- There would be more support for organizations like Breast Cancer Action, especially the chapters in San Franciso and Montreal. And my own local group is doing ground-breaking research on lymphedema.
- Every cancer patient would be assured timely, high quality health care, regardless of where she lives or her level of income.
- Treatments that prevent and treat lymphedema would be covered by all insurance plans. Women should not wait until they are irrevocably debilitated or hospitalized to get care. Lymphedema cannot be cured but it can be managed effectively with some very simple massage, compression and exercise.
- Groups like Prevent Cancer Now would get as much attention and funding as the pink ribbon mega groups.
- Surgeons, radiologists, radiation oncologists and medical oncologists would all take mandatory courses in patient respect and good (and appropriate bed-side manner). Being a good doctor is more than medicine and each patient must be treated as an individual.
- There would be a system of coordinated information at every cancer centre. Health care providers would keep the lines of communication open, with each other and their patients.
- Patients would never be put in a situation where their privacy is violated or they are made to feel humiliated or embarrassed.
- Every doctor would be willing to be creative when it comes to coping with side effects and willing to entertain alternative therapies.
- We would find a cure for cancer.
- The causes of cancer would be eradicated.
And if I were Queen of the World, no one would ever get cancer again.
You can read more of my writing at Not Just About Cancer.
Published On: September 11, 2008