Making the most informed treatment decisions is vital for new patients and their families. Shared decision-making allows patients to have a say in their treatment methods while also allowing healthcare professionals to provide the best individualized treatment possible. Because nobody knows a patient better than themselves, allowing patients a voice in their care can change their outlook on their treatment journey. By creating a collaborative environment, patients are encouraged to ask cultivated questions to fully understand their treatment.

The treatment team benefits from making educational tools and resources accessible to patients and allowing them the opportunity to better understand their diagnosis and treatment because it leads patients to be more receptive to the information the team provides. As a result, the patient also benefits, as doctors are more likely to provide additional information to high-participation patients. Giving patients access to all treatment options and allowing them time to process their diagnosis can help them better understand how to best move forward. 

Shared decision-making empowers patients in the following ways:

  • Reduces counseling time and increases satisfaction with the consultation process. 3
  • Improves clinical outcomes quality of life. 3, 4 
  • Increases patient and physician satisfaction throughout treatment.
  • Patients better understand the risks and potential outcomes of treatment. 4 
  • Decreased anxiety as they are involved, informed, and confident about their care plan.

Increases compliance and the likelihood of their making and keeping their appointments. 3, 4 

MyCancerJourney empowers patients with actionable information tailored to their unique characteristics and clinical conditions to feel more confident in discussions with their care team, understand the available treatment options and make treatment decisions that best align with their personal goals.

For more info, get in touch with MyCancerJourney via this Online Form, and we will get back to you within the shortest possible time.

Sources:

 

  1. Diefenbach M, Turner G, Carpenter KM, et al. Cancer and patient-physician communicationJ Health Commun. 2009;14 Suppl (Suppl 1):57-65. doi:10.1080/10810730902814079
  2. Cegala DJ, Street RL Jr, Clinch CR. The impact of patient participation on physicians’ information provision during a primary care medical interviewHealth Commun.2007;21(2):177-185. doi:10.1080/10410230701307824
  3. Staren D. The consumer benefits of patient shared decision making. Healthcare Value Hub; 2019. Research Brief No 37. Accessed February 24, 2022.https://www.healthcarevaluehub.org/advocate-resources/publications/consumer-benefits-patient-shared-decision-making
  4. National Learning Consortium. Shared Decision Making. HealthIT.gov; 2013. Accessed February 24, 2022.https://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/nlc_shared_decision_making_fact_sheet.pdf

 

On November 17th, specialists from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Michigan discussed their methods for achieving very high levels of active monitoring during a webinar hosted by the Active Surveillance Coalition.

 

Although active surveillance has been shown to prevent prostate cancer overtreatment, most nations still neglect it. According to American models, cost-effective prostate cancer screening requires more widespread active monitoring.

 

Facts About Prostate Cancer

 

Men throughout the world get prostate cancer. With 1.3 million new cases and 358,989 deaths annually, it is the second most common male malignancy after lung cancer. The American Cancer Society predicts that there will be 268,000 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in the United States in 2022, an increase of 20,000 cases from 2021.

 

Men with low-risk prostate cancer were often treated aggressively with radiation or surgery until recently (over the past decade). Both are effective in curing low-risk prostate cancer but come with substantial risks, including urinary issues and erectile dysfunction that can last a lifetime- it’s where Active Surveillance (AS) comes in. 

 

What is Active Surveillance For Prostate Cancer?

 

Active surveillance is a treatment option for low-grade, slowly developing prostate cancer patients. This entails keeping an eye on prostate cancer (while still confined) until the doctor determines that more aggressive therapy is necessary to stop the illness.

 

Low-risk prostate cancer managed conservatively has an excellent prognosis. Clinicians and patients should have this conversation because many men with low-risk prostate cancer can avoid the harmful effects of therapy.

 

Sweden- The World Leader In Active Surveillance

 

Prostate cancer is nearly as common in Sweden as in the United States, with an incidence rate of 103 per 100,000 people Vs. 104. Although the idea of AS was first established in North America around 30 years ago, roughly a decade before Sweden adopted it, the implementation of the gentler, kinder AS method is hugely different between the two countries.

 

When comparing the national rates of AS adoption in males with low-risk prostate cancer, Sweden’s is 94%, whereas the U.S. average is 60%. Sweden’s stats come from its well-regarded national statistics system. Expert estimates are used for the U.S. figures. 

 

According to Ola Bratt, MD, a prominent Swedish urological surgeon and a University of Gothenburg professor of clinical cancer epidemiology, 100% of males in various Swedish counties are on board with AS. About a third to half of the men in AS will quit the program during the first five years, and the main reasons are disease progression or the emotional toll of coping with any form of illness.

 

Under the microscope, the pattern of low-risk prostate cancer in men is defined as Gleason 3+3=6. The Gleason scale uses visual patterns to assess the aggressiveness of cancer. No longer is cancer diagnosed with Gleason scores below 5. More severe forms of the disease range from Gleason 7 to Gleason 10. However, less than 20% of men with a Gleason score of 3+4 take AS.

 

Sweden (and Canada) and the United States have different surgical cultures, which is still another point of differentiation. Like a carpenter learns to use a hammer and saw, surgeons receive specialized training to do their chosen field of work and experts refer to this as the “tool rule.”

 

What’s The Reason For This Difference Between The U.S. And Sweden?

 

Many factors contribute to the fact that the United States has a far lower adoption rate for AS than Sweden does:

 

  • In Sweden, everyone has access to a publicly financed healthcare system, but in the U.S., men with this form of cancer are often diagnosed around age 66 and are covered by either private insurance or Medicare.

 

  • In Sweden, urologists throughout the public health system get compensated the same whether they operate on a man or monitor his AS, reducing the financial motivation to treat the condition.

 

  • Motivators play a significant role. Up to 80% AS acceptance has been reported by urologists working in academic practices and numerous V.A. facilities. (Despite this, several V.A. hospitals have reported extremely low acceptance rates for AS. (It’s like counting down from zero.) About 10% of Swedes have private health coverage to get in to visit doctors more quickly.

 

  • The lowest adoption of AS in Sweden is in the capital city of Stockholm, at around 85%; nonetheless, this is still significantly higher than U.S. statistics. Urologists in Sweden do not earn financially from doing prostate cancer surgeries. This doesn’t mean that urologists in the United States prioritize profits over patient welfare, but it impacts aggregate data.

 

Medical experts in the U.S. and Sweden recommend that all men who have been told they have prostate cancer should seek a second opinion immediately. A decade or a single day may effectively change a person’s prostate cancer prognosis. 

 

For more info, get in touch with MyCancerJourney via this Online Form, and we will get back to you within the shortest possible time.

AA patients are more comfortable working with providers of the same race. Still, only about 3% of US oncologists are Black, reducing participation during medical visits. Providers believed AAs care could be improved by increasing cultural sensitivity through education and training initiatives and increasing staff diversity. A recent study indicated a need to develop new to increase awareness of EOL care options for underrepresented minorities.

This is underscored by the fact that prognostic estimates and treatment decision-making in cancer care are primarily based on clinical trials and statistics published by the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society. Both data sets suffer from low participation by ethnic and racial minorities, even though members of these groups generally experience disproportionately higher mortality rates relative to the entire US population. The lack of widespread participation in clinical trials thus leads to problems in the scientific quality of the research, generalizability of the results, and speed of scientific discovery.

 

What can we do about it?

MyCancerJourney empowers newly diagnosed cancer patients with information tailored to their unique characteristics, clinical condition, and goals for care. MyCancerJourney combines personalized, high-tech analytics based on millions of real-world patients with the human touch of board-certified cancer support professionals to help you make informed care decisions.

 

First, our data sets reflect millions of patients, including those not included in clinical trials and individuals with other health issues common in minority groups, such as diabetes and heart disease. With this information, we can personalize treatment to minority patients.

 

Having the information is the first step; relating it to the individual makes the real difference. We can match patients with cancer with board-certified patient navigators of the same race to share information and provide support from a human perspective. When patients are provided information and support, they can better understand their treatment options and better advocate for resources available to them, such as genetic counseling and testing referrals.

 

The final step is awareness. Patients deserve to know this information and that support is available to them. MyCancerJourney provides answers to some of the most critical questions patients with cancer ask. Its groundbreaking data platform leverages the largest cancer outcomes dataset of its kind, offering the most comprehensive information available.  Get in touch with MyCancerJourney via Online, and we will get back to you within the shortest possible time.

 

References:

  1.  Smith AK, McCarthy EP, Paulk E, et al. Racial and ethnic differences in advance care planning among patients with cancer: impact of terminal illness acknowledgment, religiousness, and treatment preferences. J Clin Oncol. 2008;26:4131–4137. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
  2. Special Editions Volume 30, Issue 3S.” Scientific American, Scientific American, https://www.scientificamerican.com/magazine/special-editions/2021/special-editions-volume-30-issue-3s/

 

A cancer diagnosis is terrifying, and treatment choices are complex, with profound impacts on finances and quality of life. There are usually several treatment options presented to patients, depending on the patient’s age, other medical conditions, and the severity of the disease. All treatments are associated with their benefits and tradeoffs. As a result, physicians are faced with the challenge of foretelling the future and recommending appropriate treatments to each patient. Leaving patients to make difficult and emotional choices about survival, treatment, quality of life, and cost.       

Every patient is unique, yet our current system comprises treatment protocols based on research conducted on a select group of participants. Existing clinical standards do not adequately address questions like, “What is the right treatment for me, given my risk factors?” As a result, patients are often recommended treatments with no clinical benefit. The impact of these unnecessary treatments and procedures is a high cost to the patients and the system. Consequently, a critical goal in healthcare is to create strategies to stop treating patients with therapies that generate little or no clinical benefit and focus on determining which treatment is right for each patient. 

 

Personalization is the future of healthcare. Outcomes information and analytical tools are necessary to enable true personalization.

Personalized medicine employs advanced analytics, such as statistical models, big data, and AI, to explore an individual patient’s unique genetic, demographic, and health conditions. These are often referred to as “patient-specific factors.” A unique patient profile is a starting point for weighing various treatments and expected outcomes, and this information can then be used to develop a treatment plan. 

Disease-Specific Factors

Disease progression is different for everyone; a patient’s stage and other health conditions significantly impact prognosis and treatment decisions. It is important to define the pre-existing health conditions that affect the patient and incorporate these factors into the patient profile. These factors often have profound effects on outcomes and the treatment decision process.

 

New scientific discoveries and technologies are emerging to test for genomic and genetic mutations. This information is significant in creating targeted treatments. Genetic mutations are linked to how well certain medications will work for an individual, how well an individual will handle a certain drug, and can determine an individual’s risk of genetic diseases. 

 

Quality of Life and Functioning

An additional concern for patients involves the tradeoffs and comparative costs of different treatment options. Some treatments have big tradeoffs regarding side effects and the ability to perform day-to-day activities, like working, driving, cooking, and self-care. To some patients, quality of life matters more than the length of life, so it is important for a patient to fully understand the predicted outcomes and expected tradeoffs of each treatment option. 

 

Economic Costs

Finances are a critical concern to many patients. It is essential to present the patient with a projected cost of treatment, a comparison of providers, and costs associated with possible treatment complications. Providing information on the costs associated with a treatment plan is critical in patient-centric and value-based care decisions, especially given the prevalence of high-deductible insurance plans. 

 

Real-world Outcomes 

Clinical studies are frequently designed to determine efficacy rather than effectiveness, meaning trials determine whether a treatment produces the expected result under ideal circumstances. Effectiveness trials measure the degree of success in “real world” clinical settings. Trials generally study younger, healthier, and less diverse participants than typical real-world patient populations; therefore, the results do not always hold in everyday practice. 

The result is that healthcare providers and their patients cannot access the relevant, personalized information required for personalized care. They need data from population-based trials of effectiveness among “all comers” to truly provide patients with enough information to make an informed decision.

 

Outcomes and Insights to Support Personalized Healthcare    

At its core, personalized medicine empowers informed choices based on values and preferences. These decisions are so complex and personal that they transcend the capabilities of technology alone. Technology, however, can be used to empower individuals with the necessary information to make informed decisions.  

 

MyCancerJourney is the first and only tool to combine this technology with the holistic support of board-certified navigators to help give patients the confidence to make difficult treatment decisions. 

Personalization is the future of healthcare. MyCancerJourney enables true personalization by combining high-tech real-world data and artificial intelligence with high-touch patient support. Get in touch with MyCancerJourney via this Online Form, and we will get back to you within the shortest possible time.

Shared Decision-Making - My CancerJourney

Shared decision-making and value-based care are emerging approaches to obtaining additional value from patient care. Shared decision-making is the process of interacting with patients who wish to be involved in arriving at an informed, values-based choice among two or more medically reasonable alternatives. It attempts to stimulate collaborative discussion between physicians and patients to better align the pursued outcomes with the patient’s needs. Values-based care is care that is sensitive to the individual preferences and values of the patient. It is based on the idea that, to maximize effectiveness and efficiency, funds ought to be allocated so that they create the most value for the patient.

A significant medical diagnosis is a terrifying experience. Treatment choices are complex, with profound implications on finances and quality of life. There are often several different treatment options depending on the age of the patient, overall health. Often, alternative treatment options are available, as well. Every option has trade-offs such as survival, side effects, and cost. As a result, no treatment recommendation is right for every patient, making recommendations difficult for physicians. Patients are left to make the difficult personal and emotional choices about survival, treatment choices, quality of life, and cost.

Every person with cancer is unique, yet our system is largely based on “one size fits all” treatment protocols.

New Approaches to Making Intensely Personal Decisions

Some medical decisions are uncomplicated because there is one best treatment; a broken leg for example. For diagnoses like cancer, in which there is not one clear course of treatment, shared decision-making can ensure the treatment choice best aligns with patients’ preferences and values.

Shared decision-making provides numerous benefits for patients, clinicians, and the healthcare system at large. These benefits include more educated patients, less anxiety over the care process, improved health outcomes, reduction in unnecessary treatment and treatment costs, and a more personalized care experience.

Healthcare decisions are deeply personal choices. As such, patients want their values and preferences to weigh heavily into their treatment.

Shared Decision-Making and its Purpose in Healthcare

Shared decision-making is the process of interacting with patients who wish to be involved in their treatment choices. Shared decisions are informed, values-based choices, made by a patient and their physician, between two or more medically reasonable alternatives. Shared decision-making creates an intersection between the clinicians’ expertise and the patients’ intuitions about their circumstances and goals of care.

SDM is not intended to tell Healthcare Providers How They Should be Practicing Medicine

Because SDM is only information, it cannot provide guidance by itself. It is meant to complement, not replace, clinical judgment that is tailored to individual patients. Shared decision-making is not a clinical practice guideline, it does not replace clinical practice guidelines, and it does not make clinical practice recommendations.

Evidence for Benefits of SDM and Decision Aids

Studies also illustrate the potential for wider adoption of shared decision-making to reduce costs. Consistently as many as 20% of patients who participate in shared decision-making choose less invasive surgical options and more conservative treatment compared to patients who do not use decision aids.

In studies performed between 2000 and 2014, 71% of respondents said they preferred sharing decision making. 80% of patients say they want their healthcare provider to listen to them, but only 60% reported that they actually listened, with less than half claiming that their doctor asked them about their goals and concerns. Patients who participated in SDM are three to five times more satisfied with their clinicians.

MyCancerJourney is intended to be an aid in the decision-making process. Board-certified patient advocates assist patients in understanding their diagnosis and prognosis, while preparing them for shared-decision making conversations with their physicians. This collaborative approach leads to greater patient satisfaction and compliance. For more information on MyCancerJourney’s navigation and support services, that assist with SDM, contact MyCancerJourney at info@mycancerjourney.com or by phone at 737.307.0077.

Personalized Cancer Treatment

You may be familiar with the term “personalized medicine.” This means that your treatment will be tailored to your genes and the nature of your disease. The information for how your cells should increase and change over time is stored in your genes. Specific genes are involved in or affected by many types of cancer.

Studying human genes and cancer genes have led to personalized cancer medicine’s development and the insights gained from these studies have contributed to developing more potent therapeutics. Additionally, they have used genetic data to create cancer diagnostic and prevention tools.

Comparatively, fewer adverse effects have been reported with personalized cancer treatment. That’s because it was made with precision in mind. Cancer cells may be harmed less by a personalized treatment plan from providers like MyCancerJourney.

 

Aspects Of Personalized Cancer Treatment

You and your doctor can create a unique strategy for detecting and treating cancer. This could involve:

  • Determining your cancer risk and selecting the appropriate screening tests can save your life.
  • Treatment is tailored to the patient and cancer. It’s possible that this would have a greater impact with less effect on the body.
  • The ability to estimate the likelihood of a recurrence of cancer. The medical term for this is “recurrence risk.”

 

The Future Of Personalized Cancer Medicine

Cancer patients could experience fewer adverse effects from treatment thanks to advances in personalized cancer medicine. However, obstacles remain. Here are some of them:

  • Unfortunately, not every form of cancer can be treated individually.
  • Clinical trials are the only way to get access to personalized treatments.
  • The cost of genetic testing varies. Not all insurance policies cover the cost. Moreover, there is a significant time lag between initiating gene and tumor analysis. This may cause a delay in receiving the individualized care you desire.
  • Targeted treatments, one type of personalized treatment, tend to be more costly.

 

Examples Of Personalized Cancer Treatment

The following are some applications of personalized cancer treatments:

Cancers that rely on specific genes or proteins for their growth and survival are the ones that benefit most from targeted treatments. Every year, scientists discover novel therapeutic cancer targets. New drugs are developed and evaluated for these targets. Targeted treatments are available for some patients with the following cancers:

  • Brain cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • A gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST)
  • Leukemia
  • Lung cancer
  • Other

The tumor-shrinking and life-saving effects of the personalized approach are superior to those of conventional treatment. However, it is not always effective. Due to the heterogeneous nature of tumors, targeted therapies targeting cells with one mutation could be effective on a subset of tumors. The surviving cells may be able to continue dividing. By discussing this method with your doctor, see if it is right for you.

For information on our cancer navigation and support services, get in touch with MyCancerJourney via this Online Form, or give us a call at 737.307.0077, and we will get back to you within the shortest possible time.