How to provide cancer education without contributing to information overload

Jun 10, 2020
How to provide cancer education without contributing to information overload

The coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe has left many people feeling anxious about life and death issues – and even more so among those already living with or having just received a diagnosis of cancer. It can feel like there’s a lot to learn – but it doesn’t all have to happen at the same time.

Many people and their families can experience information overload as they struggle to come to terms with the disease, its treatments and the practical issues that go hand in hand with living with cancer.

As Monica Bryant, a cancer rights attorney and Chief Operating Officer at Triage Cancer, says: “There’s so much information to take on board and people often feel overwhelmed with having to become experts on their disease, the treatments, the medical facilities – not to mention the practical legal, employment and financial issues that can follow a cancer diagnosis.”

“We try to give people the information they need to decide what needs to be dealt with right now, and what can be pushed back until later.”

A cancer education

Triage Cancer helps to tackle this by making sure the right information is available when people need it, rather than bombarding them with everything at the start of their cancer journey.

Patients often tell their care team about practical or legal issues, for example, so Triage Cancer ensures healthcare professionals have the knowledge they need to respond effectively.

“They hear comments like ‘I don’t know how I’m going to pay my mortgage’ or ‘my boss is giving me a hard time about attending appointments during work hours’,” says Monica.

“So, we host training sessions for nurses, social workers and navigators working on the front line,” she adds, “to help professionals recognize these comments and help people get access to the resources and benefits they are entitled to.”

Taking a deep dive

The eight-hour training sessions, which started in 2017, take a “deep dive” into issues such as health insurance, disability insurance, employment rights and finances.

The advocacy group also provides printable quick guides on a particular legal or practical topic. “They’re a starting point to learn about various issues,” says Monica, adding that people should be able to access information in a way that works for them.

“We have Quick Guides, checklists and animated videos. We want to provide a diverse array of resources because we know not everybody learns in the same way.”

Helping people to tackle the practical issues surrounding cancer is paramount, she continues.

“Cancer isn’t necessarily the automatic death sentence it was even a decade ago. For many people, it can become a chronic disease. We have to address the practical and legal issues, otherwise quality of life is greatly diminished – and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do,” she concludes.

How to provide cancer education without contributing to information overload

Author

Monica is a cancer rights attorney, speaker, and author, dedicated to improving access to, and availability of, quality information on healthcare-related issues.   Monica is the Chief Operating Officer for Triage Cancer, a national, non-profit organization that provides education and resources on cancer survivorship issues.

Throughout her career, Monica has provided hundreds of educational seminars, written articles and blogs, and appeared on community television and radio shows discussing healthcare-related legal issues.

Additionally, Monica is an Adjunct Law Professor at John Marshall School of Law in Chicago, teaching a class on Cancer Rights. Monica currently serves on the Executive Committee of the American Bar Association’s Breast Cancer Task Force.

Monica received a Bachelors of Arts degree in Law & Society, with an emphasis in criminal justice, and Psychology from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Juris Doctor from The George Washington University Law School. She is a member of both the California and Illinois State Bars.

 

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