Dr. Tycel Phillips discusses the importance of patient self-advocacy in the treatment of follicular lymphoma. Dr. Phillips reviews shared decision-making, encourages patients to seek second opinions, and to feel confident in their treatment plan.
Dr. Tycel Jovelle Phillips is a Medical Oncologist in the Hematology Clinic at The University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. Learn more about Dr. Phillips, here.
Yeah, right. What do you feel is the patient’s role in treatment decisions?
So, I know historically a lot of times, you come into an office, and we tell you what you’re going to get and what you’re not going to get. Patients nowadays are I would say a lot more savvy as far as what drugs are out there. And there are a lot more sort of conversational groups on social media between patients who’ve had treatment before and newly diagnosed patients. So, patients come in with a lot more information than they had historically had before. So, in that point, I think it’s more of an open dialogue about what options we have, what options are best for you, and what our treatment goals are at that point.
But all it means, given that we don’t yet have a standard of care, it leaves it open for discussion about sort of which route we choose to try to get your cancer under control.
Mm-hmm. Dr. Phillips, if a patient isn’t feeling confident with their treatment plan or their care, do you think they should consider a second opinion or a consult with a specialist?
I think a second opinion is probably best for all patients. It’s always probably good to get a different opinion about how the disease will be treated. So, I do encourage all my patients, even here, to get a second opinion. Some take me up on it, others won’t. But the option is always there to get a second opinion, just to see if anybody would do things any differently.
And I would say for the most part, most people would tend to treat the same way. Very seldom do we have differences in what our treatment recommendations would be. I think the biggest difference in some situations, it’s really about some patients are very uncomfortable being watched with an active cancer. And so, in that situation, that’s probably the biggest discrepancy we have nowadays.
Because of the anxiety of the watch and wait approach. Some patients would like treatment right away, irrespective of whether they need it or not. So, you’ll sometimes get discrepancies with our patients about that.
Mm-hmm. What would you say to a patient who may be nervous about offending their current doctor by getting a second opinion?
You shouldn’t be. If your doctor is offended because you’re getting a second opinion, that’s probably not the doctor for you. Yeah, I think that at this point, any physician that’s confident in their decision they’re giving you should not be offended if you go seek reassurance from somebody else.