Getting Good Cancer Care by Asking the Right Questions

cancer today fall issue

Not long ago, I spoke with a freelance journalist, Charlotte Huff, who put together a really nice article in Cancer Today, describing how cancer patients can get more engaged in their care. I thought I would share a bit of that piece with you today:

Gloria Full wasn’t surprised that the recommended chemotherapy regimen was aggressive. She and her oncologist were, as Full puts it, ‘running scared.’ She had completed treatment for stage IV diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in 2006. Five years later, in 2011, a PET scan and subsequent biopsy identified a mass in her nasal cavity. “First thing I thought was, ‘Oh, my lord. It’s too close to the            brain, so let’s get going,’ ” she recalls.

Full, a 68-year-old retired social worker who lives in Phoenix, was started on the platinum-based chemotherapy combination dubbed DHAP (dexamethasone, cytarabine and cisplatin). Halfway through the aggressive regimen, she and her doctor worried that it was inflicting too much damage on her already suppressed immune system. He suggested a PET scan to see if the treatment had offered any benefit so far, and to determine what to do next. “On that first one, it showed that the mass had become smaller,” Full says. Armed with that good news, she agreed with her doctor’s recommendation to cease any further cycles of treatment… (Read more here)

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