Diagnosing a loved one with cancer can be confusing and challenging to the care giver and family as it comes with a great amount of concern and responsibility. The search for a best hospital for cancer treatment and the best oncologist for your specific case is a difficult one. As the patient’s family interacts with the doctor to know about the treatment plan, it is a common practice now a days to ignore the needs and desires of the patient and his/her family. Doctors are generally too busy to personalize treatment basis patient preferences. So it comes to Treatment with Patient Focus
A Treatment with Patient Focus plan engages the patient and their families in a thorough and understandable conversation with their doctor to provide an accurate, well-conceived treatment plan using all available medical information appropriately. Doctors also need to consider the medical, social, and financial needs of the patient and family. Achieving this patient focused cancer treatment is difficult.
Some challenges include patient’s lack of health literacy, their emotional state, other comorbidities that complicate treatment options. There are challenges at the doctor’s side too – lack of time to explain complex information, lack of tools to facilitate treatment planning, insensitivity to patient’s informational, cultural, financial and emotional needs.
DCode Care with its wide network of hospitals for cancer treatment provides every cancer patient with a potential solution to address these problems. DCode Care is a digital gateway of optimal communication between the patients, their family and a skilled health care provider.
With the use of specified quality metrics, reviews from the patients/caregivers as well as expert opinions and infrastructure of the hospitals, experts at DCode Care have compiled a list of cancer hospitals in Bangalore.
Why is treatment plan important?
A treatment plan is a document that describes the path of cancer care, and can be given to the patient, family, or other members of the care team in order to inform everyone about the path of care and who is responsible for each portion of that care. This plan gives clarity about roles of everyone who is going to be performing your treatment. It should ideally contain:
- Diagnosis and stage of the disease
- Initial treatment plan and estimated duration of the treatment
- Expected side-effects during the treatment and their management
- Who will undertake what part of your treatment
- Supportive care plans
- Any limitations or disability that can occur as a long term effect of the treatment
- Advanced care choices and preferences
It is also important that the patient and the family understands the different choices of treatment available for them before they have to choose to start the treatment and the difference each one is going to make. In many cases, the doctor discusses only one treatment option with the patient, instead of giving choices to the patient. Patients can make an informed decision about treatment they want to undergo in collaboration with their doctor. e.g.: If possible, breast cancer patient scan be given the options of both lumpectomy (breast conservation surgery) and mastectomy (complete breast removal) so that they can choose the treatment according to individual preferences. The treatment plan is like a road map of the cancer treatment journey that helps the patient as well as the family to get themselves ready socially, emotionally and financially.
Is it important to consider the patient’s social, emotional and financial situation?
Yes, It is. Not every patient feels the same way about cancer treatment. It is necessary that oncologists discuss all the possible treatment options with the patient and their family so that they can take an informed decision on their treatment considering their preferences too. Not every patient can afford to get treatment from large corporate hospitals. In such cases it is important that the patient is made aware of the day care centers and other affordable care options so that they can take the treatment without financial burden.
Unfortunately, it is common in India that hospitals for cancer treatment often force the patients to take the most advanced treatment available in their hospital even though that might not be required for them. Hence, it is mandatory to take a second opinion on the treatment plan before starting cancer treatment. The hospital team should also give a cost estimate for your cancer treatment in accordance with the treatment plan. This helps patients be financially prepared to cover the expense before starting the treatment
Challenges in practicing patient focused cancer treatment
Though patient focused treatment is important, it comes with certain challenges. The patient might not be able to understand medical jargon communicated by the doctor. The patient and the family might not have any idea about the normal market rates of their treatment or expected survival rates for their cancer.
Another challenge comes from the lack of time of the oncologist to explain the whole treatment plan to the patients. Referral patterns may also impact coordination between primary care and oncology. General practitioners have a number of referral options to consider when their patient is facing a cancer diagnosis, including oncologists, hospitals for cancer treatment or general surgeons but those limited options need not be the best treatment choice for your specific cancer case.