Be Your Own Advocate
- Being your own advocate is key to obtaining the best treatment possible while dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Provider bias may be unconscious, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be changed, panelists at our Close the Gap conference said.
- To advocate for yourself, first you should know your rights as a patient.
- Panelists recommend asking many questions, so doctors “earn that copay.”
“One of the biggest things that I did from the very beginning was asking the right questions,” says Alex Echols, patient advocate and lymphoma survivor. “It’s our lives on the line.” He credits these questions with making sure that doctors took him seriously and viewing him as a partner in his treatment.Read More
Jenny Saldana, another Latina, was told “you can’t keep coming back here taking up resources for women that really need them” when she was trying to get a diagnosis for her breast cancer. Her solution? “The squeaky wheel gets the oil,” she says. She doesn’t think she’d have survived if she hadn’t advocated for herself.
Erika Stallings, a breast cancer previvor, agrees. “There are studies that Black women are sixteen times less likely to get a referral to a genetic counselor” she says. If you feel you’re not getting the same options as other patients because of your race, speak up.