Tools for Setting DLBCL Treatment Goals

Tools for Setting DLBCL Treatment Goals

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Tools for Setting DLBCL Treatment Goals from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Expert Dr. Amitkumar Mehta shares key steps for collaborating on diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) treatment goals with your healthcare team.

Dr. Amitkumar Mehta is Director of the Lymphoma Program and CAR T Program and Medical Director of the Clinical Trials Office at O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB. Learn more about Dr. Mehta.

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Why Should DLBCL Patients Feel Empowered to Speak Up

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When someone is considering DLBCL treatment, what advice do you have for setting treatment goals with their healthcare team?

Dr. Mehta:

So, for any cancer and particularly DLBCL, the understanding of DLBCL is very, very important. So, what we do in our clinic, and I think it should it be a very standard process all across, is when I sit down with a patient with a new diagnosis of DLBCL, obviously, they’re in shock, number one. Number two, remember, if you go back 10 to 15 years, we did not have this much information. Now, you can Google it and find so much information.

It may be a positive, may be a negative. And, within a day, you are expert in DLBCL, right? But that’s not how it should be. So, the most important part, in the first visit, I sit down with my patient for an hour, hour-and-a-half. It’s an overwhelming visit for them, because I share a lot of information with them. So, the first thing is information. Second thing is trust with your team. It’s not just me. It’s my nurse. It’s my nurse practitioner. What is infusion center? What is a PET scanner? What I’m going to get as chemotherapy? What is the treatment looks like? So, all of this is a very important information.

And I always leave a door open that first visit. Don’t get overwhelmed. You may come back if you have more questions. Write down those questions, and we will discuss that again. And then it’s more afterwards. They can call to the clinic. They can send a message, and we’ll respond. So, I think when we have all this information, they know the whole layout, right?

It is just like – say, we are planning a vacation. We are going for – somewhere out of country, right? So, what we need to know. Where we are going information, flight details, hotel details, currency, everything. If you have that, then you are at ease. That I know the whole treatment plan. I know what’s going to happen when, expected timelines. I also know what are the potential side effects to the treatment. And, of course, what is the intent of the therapy, right? It may be a cure.

In DLBCL setting, 60 percent of patients will be cured. All of that information is a treatment plan, and that has to be very transparent and open with the patient so that they feel comfortable that what I’m going through, when things will happen, who are people in the care team that I can approach if I have any questions?