Why Do Half of Breast Cancer Patients Suffer Severe Side Effects?
This recent Time Magazine article found that half of Breast Cancer women suffer extreme side effects which seemed to be a shock to their oncologists.
There is a complete disconnect between oncologists and their patients. As I have said before, most oncologists spend a total of 12 minutes per month with their patients, for overwhelmed doctors, chit chat is a luxury that many cannot afford. Actually, chit chat is the only thing they do instead of what is needed. A real conversation about burden of disease and how the treatment itself is impacting the patient.
Chemotherapy and even Immunotherapy is poison to the body…these toxic compounds are there to destroy cells…not just cancer cells but all cells. The body knows this and reacts violently to the invasion. The reaction are side effects like nausea, pain, Fatigue…nausea that keeps you throwing up for HOURS…not a bad burrito one and done. The type of nausea that can both exhaust you, dehydrate you and can lead to hospitalization.
We must ask more of oncologists and patients to invest the time and energy to have real conversations. To give some doctors credit…the hundreds i have spoken to they consistently tell me….
“I can treat the silent patient!”
Patients and doctors must work together to solve this problem. Cancerlife has been designed to help doctors identify impacts of treatment and side effects of quality of life…quickly…how is this fatigue impacting your daily routine? What do you have trouble doing? Cancerlife has reports that the patient can share with their doctor which will “drive a conversation”. again, this is not a Journal list…these reports are simple pie charts that identify the pressing issues quickly for both patient and doctor before these issues lead to a hospitalization which is costing the system close to 40B a year!
We must re-define success in Cancer Care not on how LONG a patient lives…..but how much quality of life they have with the time that they are given.