Need Help With a Colon Cancer Diagnosis? Text COLON to 484848
Oct. 20, 21 — “You’ve gotten colorectal most cancers.”
An estimated 150,000 folks hear these phrases or one thing like them within the U.S. every year.
Even earlier than the analysis, the affected person, after having the pleasures of bowel preparation and a colonoscopy, might get up nonetheless groggy from sedation and be instructed, “We’ve discovered one thing; I’ll name you in just a few days after we get the pathology outcomes.”
You don’t must be a psychiatrist to know that instances of nice emotional upheaval, stress, or uncertainty will not be excellent for decision-making, particularly when the one that is requested to resolve is dealing with a problem that will appear overwhelmingly advanced and scary.
Many sufferers’ first ideas are to go surfing for data, however that too could be overwhelming. For instance, a Google seek for the phrases “colorectal cancer” turns up roughly 134 million outcomes, in six-tenths of a second, no much less. These outcomes can vary from the useful and necessary, resembling the web site Most cancers.Gov from the U.S. Nationwide Most cancers Institute, to the silly and downright harmful, resembling a Fb web page touting Aunt Tilly’s Miracle Mayonnaise Remedy for Colon Most cancers. (OK, so we made that final one up, however you get the concept.)
One of the vital trusted on-line well being web sites is maintained by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. It provides 11 tips for coping with a cancer diagnosis, the primary of which is, “Get the details about your cancer diagnosis.” That suggestion is the inspiration for the Colorectal Most cancers Supplier Outreach Program (CRC POP).
Textual content COLON to 484848
“There are 13,000 gastroenterologists within the nation, and we diagnose colorectal most cancers 150,000 instances a 12 months,” says program creator Brian Dooreck, MD, of Memorial Healthcare System in Pembroke Pines, FL.
“What we created with the Colorectal Most cancers Supplier Outreach Program is that it now permits gastroenterologists to have a dialog with a affected person — I can say, ‘Now pay attention, take out your telephone, and textual content the phrase COLON and ship it to 484848,” he says.
Doing so returns a textual content in just a few seconds with the phrases “You aren’t alone. You’ve gotten our assist. Right here. Now,” and a blue coronary heart emoji, adopted by a hyperlink that takes the person to an online web page with a doc containing contact data for the American Most cancers Society and different assist organizations, together with the Colorectal Most cancers Alliance, Struggle Colorectal Most cancers, Colon Most cancers Coalition, and Colon Most cancers Basis.
Free assets from the organizations embrace a helpline staffed 24 hours a day, peer assist on-line or one-to-one assist, monetary help, entry to colon cancer screening for under- and uninsured folks in choose areas, and hyperlinks to a colorectal most cancers affected person registry and data.
“I can inform sufferers, ‘Hey pay attention, go dwelling, name these teams, get on their web sites. I’ll name you in every week, name me for those who want me, we’re gonna determine this factor out collectively. This can be a excellent place to get assets, right here and now. It’s a really totally different shift from going dwelling with out something aside from a therapy plan,” Dooreck says.
No Acquire — Besides Serving to Sufferers
The text-based service is free.
“There’s no hook, there’s no price, there’s no sale, it’s not monetized. There’s no acquire besides serving to folks,” Dooreck says.
Mark A. Lewis, MD, director of the gastrointestinal most cancers program at Intermountain Healthcare in Murray, UT, himself a survivor of a uncommon most cancers, says this system may help newly recognized sufferers lower by means of the fog that may observe a most cancers analysis.
“I feel it’s an incredible initiative, and it helps unify a number of the steering we give these people,” he says.
Lewis has the uncommon perspective of seeing the problem from each the oncologist’s and the affected person’s standpoint: Early in his coaching as a hematology-oncology fellow on the Mayo Clinic in 2009, he was recognized with the uncommon syndrome a number of endocrine neoplasia kind 1, an inherited situation that causes tumors to develop in hormone-producing glands such because the thyroid or pancreas. He had surgical procedure to take away tumors within the pancreas.
He says the buy-in to CRC POP from main assist organizations and from gastroenterologists alike is necessary, as a result of most colonoscopies are achieved and diagnoses of colorectal most cancers are made in neighborhood settings by medical doctors who might or might not have formal connections with a most cancers middle, slightly than in giant city or suburban networks affiliated with medical colleges.
Typically, he says, the gastroenterologist will make a most cancers analysis and hand the affected person off to a surgeon, who might join with an oncologist and/or radiation oncologist, relying on the affected person’s circumstance. This course of can take weeks, and within the meantime, sufferers are left in limbo.
Providing sufferers a number of reliable assets by means of a easy textual content message is a very interesting a part of the CRC POP initiative, and it will probably assist sufferers really feel they’re extra answerable for their care, Lewis says.
The connection to assets provided by this system are solely a part of the package deal of companies that sufferers obtain at giant educational medical facilities.
“Our method to a newly recognized affected person occurs within the context of a multidisciplinary go to,” says Caroline Kuhlman, a nurse practitioner at Mass Common Most cancers Heart in Boston.
Sufferers meet with a surgeon, oncologist, and generally radiation oncologist, she says. They’re additionally given written data and may entry a affected person useful resource middle.
Sufferers will also be referred as wanted to different assets within the hospital system, together with nutritionists, social staff who may help them discover out extra about social and monetary assist, and academic assets resembling data periods on what to anticipate if they are going to be getting chemotherapy.
“Now we have homegrown assist companies that we make out there to sufferers in the event that they both ask for them or if we confirm that these companies can be necessary parts of their care,” Kuhlman says.
Equally, at Intermountain Healthcare, sufferers newly recognized with most cancers are contacted inside 24 hours by affected person navigators who assist them handle issues and expectations about their care and join them to assets each within the hospital and the neighborhood.
Though their practices differ in measurement and scope, Dooreck, Lewis, and Kuhlman all agree with the central message and function of CRC POP: “You aren’t alone. You’ve gotten our assist.”