Tag Archive for: cultural sensitivity

Empowering Providers to Explain Lung Cancer Biomarker Testing to Patients

Empowering Providers to Explain Lung Cancer Biomarker Testing to Patients from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) clinician Dr. Jhanelle Gray from Moffitt Cancer Center has some knowledge to share. NSCLC expert Dr. Gray discusses her experience in biomarker testing and personalized combination therapeutics.

Watch to learn some of the best practices Dr. Gray has developed in treating and empowering NSCLC patients toward more culturally sensitive and equitable care.

Download Resource Guide

See More from Lung Cancer | Empowering Providers to Empower Patients

Related Resources:

How Can Lung Cancer Experts in Academic and Community Settings Collaborate

How Can Lung Cancer Experts in Academic and Community Settings Collaborate

A Look at Lung Cancer Expert Learnings From Tumor Boards

A Look at Lung Cancer Expert Learnings From Tumor Boards

Methods to Improve Lung Cancer Physician-Patient Communication

Methods to Improve Lung Cancer Physician-Patient Communication


Dr. Jhanelle Gray:

My name is Dr. Jhanelle Gray, and I’m a clinical investigator focused on helping patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). My research has concentrated on evaluating novel molecular markers and developing cutting-edge, personalized combination therapeutics to improve the outcomes of patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Biomarker testing is so important to explain to patients, and I’ve learned some best practices along the way. I think it’s very important that we take the time to think about patients when we’re making decisions, and to be open to the idea that people think differently. We all come from different backgrounds, we have different experiences. I think trying to have empathy, taking a pause, and intentionally being an active listener are very important when a patient is sitting in front of you.

We need to be careful when we use the words manage or managing. We’re not managing the patient, what we’re doing is managing the therapies, we’re helping to manage the symptoms that patients experience. We also want to take time to slow down, look at what is happening in the room as you’re talking, as the patient’s talking to you…

Language is something that is critically important. When you’re delivering negative news, people will remember about 10 percent of what you say. There’s a lot going on, so patience is very important, using words that can resonate and land, and being open to questions are key. Making sure that, again, that you don’t judge and remember that you’re delivering a lot of information. We also must share the news in a culturally sensitive way and understand the dynamics. Again, it’s reading  the room.

Understand that this is an individual conversation. When the next patient comes in, you’re going to tailor the conversation to that individual. When the next patient comes in, you’re going to tailor the conversation to that individual. 

There are also some things to keep in mind about management. Patients do not fail therapies, our therapies fail our patients. And even when you’re talking to patients, you need to let them know, this is one of the things that can occur. While the intention might be to prepare them for what can happen in the future, you may not realize during the conversation that this could come across as blaming. 

Training is one of the ways that you can move this forward and also just pay attention, be thoughtful, and make sure that people feel as comfortable as possible when you need to deliver difficult news. Another time this becomes very important, is when you need to change therapies.

For the patients, they had gotten accustomed to a therapy, they knew how to take care of themselves, how to work with their team, and had familiarity with the side effects. And now you’re going to pivot treatments. To patients, this often feels like starting over from scratch. Thus, I think there are many sensitivities that must be considered, and we need to be thoughtful at those particular times.

I think that all providers should undergo cultural competency training. This can drive impact and help move us to the next level of reaching for that equity and honestly, lessening the inequities in healthcare.

Some things I’ve learned about communicating biomarker results with patients include:

  • Seeing patients as human beings first and the cancer as second.
  • Pause and think about what you’re saying and how you’re saying it.
  • Take your time and don’t rush the appointment.
  • Get to know your patient as a person.

For me, these actions are key to empowering my patients.

Share Your Feedback About the Program

How Can Cultural Competency Play a Role in Your Care?

How Can Cultural Competency Play a Role in Your Care? from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Cultural competency, also known as cultural humility, can help provide better care. Dr. Nicole Rochester and Sasha Tanori discuss barriers to diagnosis and Sasha’s experience as a Mexican American patient in the healthcare system.

See More From Rx for Community Wellness

Related Resources:

Advice From Cancer Survivor to Better Whole Person Care

How Does Stress Correlate to Our Physical Ailments?

How Does Stress Correlate to Our Physical Ailments?


Dr. Nicole Rochester:

Sasha, from your perspective, and you mentioned you’re a Mexican American, you mentioned that there were significant barriers for you in terms of getting a diagnosis, having to leave your community. So I love for you to share more about that, this idea of cultural humility, cultural sensitivity, and how that played out or maybe didn’t in your experiences with the healthcare system.

Sasha Tanori:

Yeah, I live in the lowest poverty line of California, so there’s not very much out there at all in my area. Just to get my diagnosis, like I said, I had to leave out of my community to go get the community…to go get the diagnosis. Sorry. And when I did that, it was…a lot of it had to also do with your…for me personally, it has to do with like generational. My father doesn’t believe in diagnosis, diagnoses, to him, it’s like every time I kept coming to him and complaining about this issue, he was just like, “Oh, you’re exaggerating.” Or it would be like the typical [passive], “You’ve got to go and put some Vicks on it, and you’re fine,” type of response, and I kept bugging him and bugging him, and he didn’t believe me, nobody believed me because it’s just such a…like I said, I live in a…what’s the word I’m thinking of, I’m sorry. I live in a community that they don’t take things like this seriously from Mexicans. If a white girl was to go to the hospital and say, “Hey, I’ve got bruises.” It’s like, “Okay, let’s do testing right away.” But I kept…and it is a lot of my generational, I think, trauma from my parents or from my dad mostly, that I didn’t even believe myself, it’s just like…

I kept putting it on the back burner. I kept thinking, “No, there’s nothing wrong. No, there’s nothing wrong. No, there’s nothing wrong.” And I wish that I would have advocated for myself a lot sooner. I wish that I would have taken my own problems more seriously because I didn’t…I didn’t think anything was wrong either. I just kept ignoring it, because that’s just how my mind was trained from my community, from my parents or my dad mostly, and finally, once I was able to… Once I started getting really, really serious, I still didn’t get the help, I needed it right away, it was now kept pushing it back on, “You need to lose weight,” or “You’re anemic,” or “You have this blood disorder, so take this medicine.’ Like nobody really took anything I was saying serious, because I also didn’t take it serious, my community doesn’t take it serious, my dad doesn’t take it serious, and that all just comes back to being Mexican. That’s just how it is when you’re Mexican, you don’t really take any of the serious issues serious, you go to work, and you take care of your family. And you put yourself on the back burner.

You put yourself last. And it was really hard. Yeah, but now that I’ve been through everything I’ve been through, I’m seriously, so passionate about making sure that people, especially Mexicans realize, “Hey, whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re going through, whether it’s physical, emotional, mentally, it needs to come first, no matter what.”