How can bladder cancer patients become their own self-advocates? In the “The Importance of Self-Advocacy in Bladder Cancer Treatment” program, expert Dr. Shilpa Gupta from Taussig Cancer Institute shares three key ways that bladder cancer patients can take a more active role in their care.
1. Learn When to Speak Up for Yourself
Since bladder cancer patients know their symptoms and treatment side effects best, they are their own best advocates. Make sure to report all your symptoms and treatment side effects – whether you report them at an in-person appointment or online via MyChart messaging or some other electronic method. Communication about how you’re feeling is vital so that treatment adjustments can be made to optimize your quality of life and health outcome. You as a patient should also feel confident to communicate your care expectations to your doctors and to let your care team members if you feel like your questions or concerns are not being heard or no action is being taken in response to them.
2. Know When to Seek a Second Opinion or Specialist
Current bladder cancer care frequently involves a multidisciplinary team that coordinates on care of the patient. Work together with your healthcare team member to determine your treatment goals, treatment options, and ask questions if you want to learn about additional treatment options. After you feel comfortable that you have gathered enough treatment options and second opinions for your care, then discuss your treatment options with your bladder cancer care provider to determine the best treatment plan for you.
3. Seek Out Credible Resources
Bladder cancer patients can take actions to further advocate for your best care. Educate yourself about your condition by reading credible online resources like the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network, bcan.org. This is a highly recommended resource for bladder cancer patients created by bladder cancer patient advocates – along with the Bladder Cancer Empowerment Center on the Patient Empowerment Network website.
By taking a more active role in your care, bladder cancer patients can help determine the best treatment plan for optimal quality of life and health outcomes.