Treating Cancer With Compassion

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Cancer care

By Brian Bolwell, MD

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During my 24 years as an oncologist for Cleveland Clinic, I have witnessed the evolution of the Taussig Cancer Institute. I’ve watched our clinical and support services grow and improve. I’ve seen our physicians and scientists participate in groundbreaking research that will forever change the way we diagnose and treat cancer. And perhaps most importantly, I have seen countless patients and their families endure the tragedies and triumphs that come after a cancer diagnosis.

Now, I will be blogging about all of this for Health Hub from Cleveland Clinic.

People frequently ask me what makes Taussig Cancer Institute different from other major cancer centers. I think it can be summed up by the phrase, “We get it, and we are going to do something about it.”

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Our physicians, nurses, and other caregivers understand what a cancer diagnosis means to people. It is always scary. Our patients are usually filled with anxiety and fear throughout their diagnosis and treatment. A large part of our job is to realize the emotions felt by our patients and their families are real and important. We know this and we’re doing something about it. Here’s how.

First, we provide our patients with the best clinical care possible with a focus on putting patients first. We have an absolutely superb team of physicians and nurses at our main campus facility and throughout our region. It’s a priority for us that patients see the physician most appropriate for their cancer care as quickly as possible.

Second, we offer patients access to the most cutting-edge and novel therapies, including targeted medications, advanced techniques for bone marrow transplantation and new technologies for removing tumors. We are one of the largest and most active clinical research cancer centers in the United States, offering more than 350 clinical trials every year.

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Third, we provide support services that address the emotional experience for patients and their families. For example, our Wednesday afternoon High Tea — a refuge of food, music and art for patients and caregivers alike — was recently featured in a national publication. We have social workers, patient navigators, and many other caregivers who help our patients throughout their cancer journey. We strongly believe it is important to take care of people as people. It is our goal to treat patients with the utmost dignity, empathy and compassion.

I am proud to share examples of our strengths in clinical excellence, innovation and patient-centered care in the Health Hub. We are inspired by our patients to challenge the status quo, developing new ways to treat cancer today with an ultimate goal of eradicating it in the future. Please share your comments and questions below.

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