Just kidding. There is no wizard, no ruby slippers. Cancer is science, and hospitals are a business, and you’re going to use these facts to your advantage.
This is not your ordinary cancer blog. I don’t care about pink ribbons, or scanxiety, or tear-stricken queries about why everyone around you is dead while you’re still alive (hint: it’s called statistics). I care about outcomes, and treatment optimization, and lifting the veil on the fact that your oncologist does not always have your best interests at heart. This isn’t necessarily malice; he has other patients, she has different priorities, and they’re employed by organizations with their own motives and goals. But I once signed four informed consent forms in one day, all the while hearing the cha-ching of a cash register in the back of my mind, and I happily signed because I had something I wanted too. It was not the same thing as my oncologist wanted. And that’s the art of it: separating fact from preference, optimizing both, and, ideally, performing better than expected.
We’re not in Kansas anymore (definitely not, as Kansas doesn’t have an NCCN-designated cancer center; we’ll get to the fallacy of that soon). It’s a new day, where patients have the opportunity to be meaningful contributors to their own care. And I do mean opportunity. Not right. You have to earn it. So let’s pull back the curtain, shall we?