An ‘Empowered Patient’ at the treatment table is a game-changer for survival.
Updated Tuesday 19th 5:00 pm
hope, willingness, imagination, & persistence.
JUNE 15, 2023
This month, “The Villager” (Main Beach’s premium email newsletter magazine) featured an excerpt from my comments on the value of “The Empowered Community.”
The Main Beach Foundation is a grassroots organization dedicated to putting community responsibility back into cancer and empowering the community’s cancer response, individually and collectively.
They initiate conversations that lead to cancer preparedness by incorporating a CancerCPR approach: “Cancer Awareness translates to Preparedness which improves Response.” This month, they invited their community to reflect on their readiness for cancer and explore how they can be better prepared.
Cancer can affect anyone, including healthy individuals such as doctors, nurses, and scientists. None of us can predict when we may face a cancer diagnosis. That’s why it is crucial for all of us to be well-informed and equipped with current knowledge and resources. Taking this simple action can greatly benefit us and our loved ones if we are ever unexpectedly diagnosed with a serious cancer.
Accelerating the Patient Success:
One of the primary factors for cancer success requires the participation of the empowered patient at the treatment table. Therefore, patients must strive to become empowered.
So, what does it mean to be an ‘Empowered Patient’? Let’s clarify:
The Informed Patient:
An informed patient understands the provided information and can act on it in a manner that they have the capacity to ask targeted questions and make informed decisions.
What is poorly understood and unattended to by our overworked healthcare system, is that just the act of providing information to the patient who is typically in a state of overwhelm does not automatically translate into an ‘informed patient.’ This is a critical step that must be understood in becoming an ‘Empowered Patient’.
The Empowered Patient:
An empowered patient is not only well-informed but also open and willing to actively engage in advocating for their own health. They question their truths, and challenge assumptions, statistics, and prognoses. They learn to research options and challenge the constraints and limitations of certainties and statistics.
Beyond Conscious Measure
Consider my own personal Thought Journey as an example;
Beyond conscious measure lies greater possibilities and their realities. But I had to navigate through a sea of other people’s certainties to find a way.
To rise above my best I questioned my truths, I questioned the truths of those certainties that stood in my way. I shone a bright light on all the possibilities that surrounded those certainties, and I leaned into them until they engaged my efforts and helped me move forward.
I quickly learned that ‘certainty’ is just a tired possibility that has run out of steam, nothing more than someone else’s firm conviction. There is nothing in life, and in science that is not vulnerable to being knocked off its precarious pedestal of certainty.
Consider these observations:
The Cancer Patient’s currency is survival, the scientist’s currency is possibilities, and the healthcare system’s currency is certainties and the statistics that support them. The Empowered Patient transcends these different perspectives and tends to have better survival outcomes.
Empowering the Community Empowers the Individual:
Empowering the community at the grassroots level benefits individuals, medical professionals, and the future of healthcare. It improves survival outcomes, streamlines patient/healthcare interactions, and shapes the healthcare landscape, ultimately improving survival outcomes.
The Responsibility lies with the individual
Whether you are a patient, caregiver, medical professional, or an industry expert that is reading my words, ultimately the responsibility falls on you to do something useful, to be useful in a way that directly improves the process of cancer survival. If you do not know how just be useful and you will find a way, or it will find you. As a patient, we really have no other choice other than become empowered patients.
It is the individual that generates the idea that will move mountains by climbing them. If you work in the field of cancer, I commend you – we really need you, Please do not underestimate your individual effort and what you are capable of in contributing to greater survival rates. Push past the complacency of convenient compliance, and become that special individual who rises above. We patients and our families need your best, your efforts could give us a second chance, it’s a simple mindset that unlocks and transcends.
This article is the seed of ‘The How’
In part 2 of this series, I will address potential barriers that patients may face in becoming informed and empowered. We will explore ways to overcome information overload, navigate complex medical terminology, and effectively communicate with healthcare professionals.
Join us in our mission to empower the community, improve outcomes, and create a healthcare system that better serves us all. Let’s lead by example, become informed, and empower ourselves to help those around us.