AML expert, Dr. Jessica Altman, discusses the factors she considers when making treatment decisions for patients. Want to learn more? Download the Program Resource Guide here.
Dr. Jessica Altman is Director of the Acute Leukemia Program at Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University.
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So, when you’re talking with your patients, what kind of things are you considering when determining how to best treat AML?
Dr. Jessica Altman:
So, that’s a great question. This is something that is the basis for the entire conversation that I have with my patients and their family members.
I consider patient goals and patient fitness, other medical conditions, and a lot about the biology of the leukemia. If someone has an acute leukemia that is expected to be highly sensitive to intensive chemotherapy, then that is something that we want to think about. Versus if the patient has a disease that is not expected to be as sensitive to intensive chemotherapy, we frequently like to consider other alternatives in that space.
So, in terms of options, as a patient what kind of things should I be thinking about when I’m working with you as my doctor about what the best treatment for me might be going forward?
Dr. Jessica Altman:
So, I think the goal of the initial meetings and the initial consultation between a patient and their healthcare provider is to explore those things. We take a detailed history, understanding patients’ other medical issues. In addition to that, the social history and patients’ goals are very important, as things are not always a yes or no.
They’re not dichotomous choices. And to be able to understand a patient’s goals, and for the healthcare provider to be able to explain what the intent of treatment is helps both parties come to the right decision for that individual patient.