We really need to think about how a patient makes an informed decision if they don’t understand what the oncologist is saying. How does the patient know what they are choosing between? They may look online for information and come across words like molecular biomarkers, mutation and rearrangements, and sequencing and have no idea what they mean?
We need to simplify the concepts and make them easier to understand. There are some well-informed, active patients who are on discussion boards and other social communities – and they are helping to educate all of us – including some healthcare professionals. But most patients are not yet there.
As health educators, we need to understand these terms and break them down for the patient. We learned cancer 101 and now we need to go to the advanced class. A dictionary won’t help because the concepts are so advanced and difficult. So the learning curve for the patient is pretty high. It’s our responsibility to support the cancer patient in making this new medical information approachable to master the PM learning curve.
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