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Debra Madden Suggests Oncologists Take a Patient-Centered Approach to Education

Oncology physicians and nurses need to listen to their patientsí needs and expectations to determine the right way to present information on cancer treatments, including immuno-oncology, according to Debra L. Madden, cancer research advocate and patient representative.


Oncology physicians and nurses need to listen to their patients’ needs and expectations to determine the right way to present information on cancer treatments, including immuno-oncology, according to Debra L. Madden, cancer research advocate and patient representative.

Transcript (slightly modified)

How can oncologists adapt their approach so patients are more fully educated and included in decision making?

I think that’s an important question all around, I think it’s important that... First, I do need to say that I think we all understand how busy oncologists are, and that they have to see a certain number of patients and they have a very limited amount of time. However, I think it’s critical that oncologists as well as oncology nurses, who may have more time with the patients, to really understand them as an entire person: what their personal preferences are, how much information they really want to know.

And also to listen, where it may be possible that, perhaps it’s clear that the patient doesn’t have a true understanding. Maybe they read about immuno-oncology drugs and they have an advanced cancer, and they want to know if they’re a candidate. But maybe they come in assuming, “Well, I know that this is a new breakthrough, and I really need to get on this medication.”

The physicians, the nurses really need to listen to the patient to understand, where they can help them understand really the whole picture and all the various considerations. Again, it comes down to being patient-centered: what will be most beneficial for this patient as far as the type of information that you’re giving. What is most important to them, and what kind of information can you give them so that they really feel like, and are, a true partner in their care.

 
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