Receiving a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer is a terrible day for nearly 300,000 women in the US each year.
The statistics on breast cancer are staggering; in fact, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women will develop the disease at some point during their lifetime. However, there is still hope. Breast cancer is beatable, and there are more than 3.8 million survivors in the United States alone who prove that. Since so many women encounter this diagnosis each year, education and support from healthcare professionals is critical.
Research from the American Academy of Family Physicians has shown that increased patient involvement and greater patient control are positively related to patient health status. Collaborating with patients, involving them in the decision making, and educating them on the different treatment options is essential.
Jill Bunney, a VMS Clinical Nurse Educator, said, “Education equals empowerment. When a patient is living with and navigating cancer and all that the diagnosis involves, knowledge enables a sense of control and empowerment to fight the disease and live their lives the best way they can.”
Patients are more likely to stay on track with treatment plans when they are engaged in them. This can also lead to better mental health for patients which is important when dealing with difficult diagnoses. Attitude and mindset go a long way when fighting a disease such as breast cancer.
According to Gina Quinlan, another VMS Clinical Nurse Educator, “Education and support are so important for the oncology patient because understanding a disease process and therapy regimens allows patients to share in treatment decisions. Informed patients often stay on track with their treatment, and time on treatment can ultimately improve outcomes.”
Receiving a breast cancer diagnosis could be one of the worst day of someone’s life. Making this process easier and a little less frightening encourages patients to be involved in their own care, and it may even set the stage for a more successful patient journey. Not only does this empower patients and show them they can fight the disease, but it also helps to motivate them to keep on track with their treatments – giving back some of the control they felt was lost the day the day of diagnosis.
American Academy of Family Physicians
National Breast Cancer Foundation