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Building the Right Healthcare Team

Blog Post from Dawn / October 5, 2018

Since my diagnosis of EGFR mutation-positive lung cancer, I learned that your healthcare team is not just doctors, but a much larger group of people. Of course, medical professionals are necessary, but beyond them there are other roles in a team that can really mean a lot for your treatment journey.

Let me give you a quick run-down of who I rely on for my team, and how I built a well-rounded support system.

  • My local oncologist—it all began with him. Together, we decided that enrolling in a clinical trial was best for me. We started doing our research to find the right fit, and that’s what led me to my next team members.

  • The investigators of the studies—I found this information on clinical center websites, and looked up each lead investigator to see if they suited my preferred location. They lead my treatment team now, while I’m enrolled in their trial. I still make sure to keep in touch with my local oncologist; however, so if anything changes with my disease, he’ll work with me to find an alternate treatment plan.

Now, let’s go beyond the docs:

  • Friends—and not just the pre-diagnosis friends, but the new ones. The ones you make along your journey. The ones who are also diagnosed with lung cancer. They’ve been through all of this and their wisdom is invaluable. While researching trials, I met with patient groups that advocate for my specific mutation and connected with others on the same trial. I’ve made some special friends and added a great support system to my healthcare team. This is what I call the blessing and the curse: without cancer, I would have never met so many incredible people!

  • Family—in any sense of the word. You need at home support, from people who love you and uplift you.

Each person will have individuals on their team that help in unique ways. Some friends of mine rely on a counselor as a sounding board. Others rely on a fitness coach to keep them healthy and active. No matter who it is, just remember to find your people and keep them close.