Please login to the form below

The other side of … blood cancer

To stay motivated for the fight, some patients need to feel like active players in the treatment journey, not passengers to every decision.

The other side of … blood cancer

I’m so sick of chasing him down the hospital corridors. He just never makes any time for me.”

Meet Sophie.

What she suffers from you have probably never heard of: a blood cancer, or neoplasm, called myelofibrosis. The excessive production of fibrous scar tissue in her bone marrow means that she is left anaemic, and therefore tired and weak – frequently needing blood transfusions to get by.

Her blood cancer is so rare – only 1 in 100,000 – her journey to diagnosis was difficult to say the least. Not to mention initially being diagnosed with another bone marrow neoplasm (polycythaemia vera), before eventually progressing. And having to build her knowledge again from scratch.

But the challenge has not ended there.

Sophie has to be treated by a specialist haematologist, who closely monitors how her disease is progressing. So knowledge is not an issue.

Yet Sophie doesn’t feel that she is getting the attention she needs.

The environment is certainly one challenge – busy hospital, many blood cancer patients, so her doctor’s time is limited. But even when Sophie took it upon herself to remove this barrier to her care, attending her doctor’s private clinic, she was faced with the same perceived ‘lack of interest’.

Digging a little deeper we see that the barrier is likely mostly one of motivation.

Firmly adhering to the traditional doctor–patient relationship (and so to his own professional identity) means taking little time to help Sophie understand her condition, its impact and its prognosis; to listen to her concerns; to make her feel supported and engaged during this difficult time.

So Sophie feels like a ‘passenger’ in her own treatment journey.

Which leaves her frustrated and sometimes even disengaged.

Part and parcel with that is likely the misaligned beliefs about the severity of the consequences of the condition and its treatment. Case in point: gaining 5kg on treatment was a problem for Sophie that he dismissed; when that became 20kg, however, he took it more seriously.

Only when Sophie’s husband is present, who reads around and questions decisions, and so challenges this traditional relationship, does the doctor make himself more available.

To truly drive change, we need to break with tradition.

We need to radically alter the perception of what the doctor–patient relationship should look like.

Professionals may have the expertise and understanding of the disease, but patients know what its really like. And this knowledge has value too, especially when it comes to staying engaged and motivated to fight.

Being on the passenger’s seat is not enough for patients like Sophie. To stay motivated to fight her cancer, she, and others like her, need to feel like active players in the treatment journey.

A modern doctor–patient relationship recognises the value of listening, of engaging in dialogue and exchanging expertise. Only then can patients and professionals work together to share the treatment journey and achieve the best possible outcomes.

by the Redline team

23rd October 2020



Company Details

Frontera Group

+44 (0) 7817 410079

Contact Website

St. John’s House
54 St. John’s Square

Latest content on this profile

Frontera Group continues growth
Frontera London, part of the Frontera Group, is delighted to announce the additions of Emma Langley and Mark Frost to the senior leadership team.
Frontera Group
>> FAST FORWARD How pandemics accelerate new thinking and early adoption in healthcare.
Spanish Flu killed > 2% of the world, but accelerated healthcare for all. HOW is COVID-19 accelerating healthcare again and WHY does evidence say being an innovator matters?
Frontera Group
The other side of ... gout

Frontera Group
Frontera wins at IPA Best of Health 2016

Frontera Group
Why Don't More People Want to Change the World?
Healthcare is critical. But healthcare will never be fixed to a point where we can say that it's done. Instead, it's about looking at things in new ways, exploring new ideas for changing behaviour to improve outcomes. For everyone. So, why don't more people try to do different?
Frontera Group
Patient Truth is Out There
Patient centricity, patient focus, patients first – words that are on everyone’s lips these days. But what do they really mean? Where does the patient voice fit in? And what do we stand to gain by really listening to patients?  We spoke to patients, academics, Pharma, not-for-profit and industry professionals to find out the value of the patient voice. The power it holds to transform health outcomes, which benefits not only the healthcare system but also the pharmaceutical industry.  Download our white paper and explore:  What people mean when they talk about patient centricity The benefits of listening to patients – for patients, Pharma and the healthcare system as a whole The challenges to capturing the patient voice and how technology can help deliver it How Pharma should evolve its practices to drive patient activation
Frontera Group