Why is it vital for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) patients to engage in their care? Expert Dr. Amitkumar explains the importance of speaking up and the value of considering a second opinion.
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.
Why should patients feel empowered to speak up?
So, that is very, very important because at the end, anybody and the patient is in the center. As we talked about their preferences, shared decision-making, they need to speak up because, at the end, I need to know, we need to know as a care team their preferences, right? Who is going to be my support? Who’s going to be with me? Maybe they might have to move somewhere to get the treatment, right? Or sometimes I bring up and I have so many patients who actually brought up “Well, I have a trip planned on this date,” right, or “I have a graduation planned,” or “I have son or daughter’s wedding planned,” right?
So, they should feel empowered to speak up. Yes, they’re shocked at the first instance because of their diagnosis of cancer. But that part after sharing all the information about cancer and treatment, it eases up a little bit. Then they feel “Okay, it is not end of the road,” right? “I’m going to fight it out.” But at the same time, there are important life events planned. So, they need to speak up, not only for that but also, as we talked about, preferences, their choices about the clinical trial.
Sometimes it is okay to ask whether I can go for another opinion, especially now in many institutions there are specialists who just focus on lymphomas, right? In that case, it is okay to ask whether – anywhere else I should go for an opinion and see whether I have more options. So, patient is always in center. And I feel always comfortable when patients speak up, and I make sure that “Yes, I will make sure that whatever the preference is, I will try to meet those preferences.”