with Michelle Alonso-Basanta, MD, PhD, Dava Szalda, MD, Alisha Amendt CRNP, Joseph Carver, MD, Clarisa Garcia, MD, Linda Jacobs, PhD, RN, Julia Kharlip, MD
The Managing Cancer’s Late-Term Side Effects Panel featured a panel of doctors, nurse practitioners, and health professionals from Penn Medicine who have made it their goal to aid patients with cancer in caring for themselves. The panel highlighted many of the challenges faced by individuals with cancer, such as feelings of anxiety or uncertainty, any physical or psychological effects of their illness and associated therapies, issues regarding psychosocial adjustment, dealing with another bout of cancer, cognitive dysfunction problems, issues regarding reproductive abilities following treatment, and dealing with chronic pain. All of the speakers on the panel highlighted the necessity for a tailored, individualized plan of care for each patient. This stems from their understanding that each individual varies in age, health, lifestyle, family support, financial circumstance, etc. It does not seem likely that a single plan of care would necessarily suit a wide-ranging population. For this reason, the panel speakers offered insights on molding and adapting healthcare and associated support for patients and survivors of cancer. In discussing this “survivorship care,” the panelists discussed the importance of gathering a multidisciplinary team that would help patients in coordinating the various facets of their care plans.
Along with speaking passionately about this new model of care, the panelists also urged the audience members to know their bodies, know their treatment, and to know their plan. As Dr. Szalda stressed in her final statements, the best thing that a patient can do in managing his or her healthcare is to be an advocate for themselves.