February, 2024
February 2024
Supporting Patients on the Path to a Cancer Diagnosis: A Journey of Emotions and Challenges
Jun 4, 2023, 18:04

Supporting Patients on the Path to a Cancer Diagnosis: A Journey of Emotions and Challenges

The time leading up to a formal cancer diagnosis can be the most emotionally fraught and trying time of a patient’s journey. Patients describe experiencing particularly acute anxiety, fear, confusion, and uncertainty as they await their final diagnosis and learn about what this will mean for their functioning, well-being, and lifespan. During this disorienting time, they have to become experts in a completely new landscape.

The patients in my own clinic at MSKCC often take multitudinous and meandering routes to make their appointments with us. They frequently rely on their connections, index heavily on the prestige or name brand of a local institution, or spend significant amounts of time trying to self-educate themselves on the internet to try to make an informed decision. Sometimes, relying on informal and selective networks to fill in their knowledge gaps can lead to bias and worsening inequality in cancer outcomes.

We need to start supporting patients in their cancer journey even before they become patients in our cancer clinics. But how to do it? We have to solve for workflow and data silos in medicine, and create a business model that allows systems to invest in wraparound support services, such as patient navigation, without impunity.

This summer, I’ll be joining Thyme Care as medical director, and working with Robin Shah, Bobby Green, Bradford Diephuis and team, to solve for these very problems. So so excited.

In the meantime, read my article 🙂

Newly diagnosed cancer patients need help navigating the system