Learning to Advocate for Yourself – An Important Skill!

When given a cancer diagnosis, you quickly enter a world with a whole new vocabulary, many appointments, and new healthcare providers. Advocating for yourself means being able to ask for help and letting others know what you need. This is an important skill during cancer treatment! It is hard to ask for what you need if you don’t understand a bit about your cancer, the treatments, and what to expect. In other words, educating yourself is the first step to becoming your own advocate.

I had the pleasure of joining a Cancer Support Community podcast called Facing Cancer Together to share some of my tips for self-advocacy. I hope you’ll check it out!

For more tips on being your own advocate, check out “Being Your Own Cancer Care Advocate” on Oncolink.

About the author: Carolyn Vachani is an oncology advanced practice nurse and the Innovation Director at OncoLink. She has worked in many areas of oncology including BMT, clinical research, radiation therapy, and staff development. She serves as the project leader in the development and maintenance of the OncoLife Survivorship Care Plan and has a strong interest in oncology survivorship care. She enjoys discussing just about any cancer topic, as well as gardening, cooking, and, of course, her sons.

2 thoughts on “Learning to Advocate for Yourself – An Important Skill!

  1. My friend’s18 yo grandson has recently had 80 percent of his tumor removed. The 20 percent not removed is located next to the thalamus, hence the tumor is not completely removed. Doctors want radiation for the remaining tumor. It is cancerous. Are there any other options to radiation? I am reading about gamma tile treatment. It seems that it has been used for metastatic brain cancer, when more than one site in the brain is involved. Can this be an option to prevent the 20percent of the tumor left from enlarging?

    1. Hi Joanne, So sorry your grandson and family are going through this. We are not able to give medical advice, but it is worth discussing all options with the care team. They can also consider going somewhere else for another opinion. A second opinion is always good to have another team share their thoughts about his treatment. And proton therapy is a type of radiation that may be used in these types of areas to spare the healthy tissue from radiation as much as possible. We have information on second opinions, proton therapy and lots of other stuff on OncoLink, just keep learning to help advocate for your grandson. Best of luck.

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