For cancer patients, regardless of disease site or stage, becoming a self-advocate is vital.
Self-advocates are educated cancer consumers/patients who proactively impact their quality of life and the health care they receive. Becoming a self-advocate means empowering yourself to ask questions, even difficult ones, of the members of your medical team to ensure you get the best possible physical, emotional and mental health treatment, and to give yourself a sense of stability and control during a situation where it is easy and normal to feel out of control.
Ellen Stovall, a cancer survivor and former president and CEO of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, and Elizabeth Johns Clark, PhD, MSW, have identified and written about some of the important reasons for self-advocacy. Their list includes:
To learn more about self-advocacy, including the skills necessary to become a self-advocate, visit https://www.canceradvocacy.org/becoming-a-self-advocate/.