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What Dr Janice Mehnert Would Recommend to a Patient Newly Diagnosed With Cancer

For a patient newly diagnosed with cancer, it's important that they make sure they educate themselves on their disease and all of their options, explained Janice Mehnert, MD, Head of the Phase I Developmental Therapeutics Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

For a patient newly diagnosed with cancer, it's important that they make sure they educate themselves on their disease and all of their options, explained Janice Mehnert, MD, Head of the Phase I Developmental Therapeutics Program at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

If you could recommend one thing to a patient newly diagnosed with cancer, what would it be?

It’s important for patients to understand that when you’re planning your cancer care, it’s really important to make sure that [while] you’re a participant in this journey that you’re comfortable in this journey, more important than getting your diagnosis and getting your infusion two weeks later, which every patient always wants … When a patient hears “You have cancer,” and needs systemic treatment. The next question is always, “Well, when am I going to get started?” [But] if I could impress something on patients, it’s much more important—for the most part—to take that time to educate yourself about the disease, get a good education get another opinion, seek out a clinical trial consultation. That’s critical because that’s the only time you’re really ever able to do that. There are a few cases where it’s a true emergency to initiate therapy. Seeking multi op seeking expert consultations and seeking trial offerings is really empowering to patients. If I were to have a dream policy change that would something that would be mandatory for every patient who has a diagnosis of cancer. Especially with immunotherapy—we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for clinical research. And understanding that now we’re just going to improve upon the existing advancements, but we still need to have those expert consultations and those expert collaborations. I think patients should know that.

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