CancerCare, a national organization that provides free, professional support services and information to help people manage the challenges of cancer, has released a new report that reflects the perspectives of more than 3,000 adults diagnosed with cancer.
The “2016 CancerCare Patient Access and Engagement Report” covers a wide range of topics, from diagnosis to survivorship.
While the study includes some encouraging findings about the care cancer patients receive, it also sheds light on a number of areas in need of improvement — areas that could benefit from the involvement of nurse and patient navigators.
Here are seven takeaways from the report that support expanded use of navigators:
1. Only 23% respondents indicated they had access to a nurse or patient navigator.
2. 94% of those respondents with navigators found them helpful.
3. Less than half of respondents said they had adequate information on the following:
- whether they would be able to continue working during treatment;
- how much home care was required;
- the emotional impact of having cancer and its treatment, and
- and how much of the cost of care would be their responsibility.
4. Only about two-thirds of respondents said they had enough information on the benefits or goals of their treatment, the possible side effects and the reasons why the plan was recommended.
5. Fewer than half of the respondents indicated that they were asked by a care team member whether they were feeling distressed by their cancer or its treatment.
6. Nearly 40% did not report symptoms or side effects from treatments because they did not want to “bother” their doctor.
7. Fewer than half of the respondents were asked by a member of their care team if they were feeling distressed by their cancer or its treatment.