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Monday, May 16, 2016

It Takes a Village to Cope With Cancer



Medscape
 After Diagnosis, the Reach for Help

Editor's Note:
A watershed report released by CancerCare on May 11 gives an unparalleled look at the experience of cancer in the United States. The 2016 CancerCare Patient Access & Engagement Report surveyed 3000 cancer patients from all regions of the United States, who represented a cross-section of ethnicities, education levels, ages, and tumor types. The report reveals a complexity of patient experience that in many ways contradicts the medical establishment's assumptions about cancer in America.
For Medscape, Lidia Schapira, MD, associate professor at Harvard Medical School, spoke in depth to Ellen Sonet, strategy and alliance officer of CancerCare, about the results of the six-survey report and what can be learned from it. This first part of a three-part series focuses on where patients seek help and counsel after a diagnosis of cancer.
Dr Schapira: We start on this cancer journey, as you aptly describe it, from the moment of diagnosis. What happens immediately after the diagnosis? Who do patients talk to or go to for support?
Ms Sonet: We were surprised at how broadly patients reach out to others. No two patients are the same, but it seems that many patients rely on a very broad group of people to help them become more informed and to manage the shock and awe of a cancer diagnosis. Not only are they speaking with their physicians and nurses, but they're also reaching out to religious leaders, social workers, other clinicians, support groups, patients, and family members.
Younger patients seem to be engaging many more people in conversations and reaching out much more broadly than older patients. Younger patients are more active in online communities and in contacting patient support organizations, and are having more conversations than those in the Medicare age range.....

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