My name is Katie Brier and I am a Massachusetts registered nurse (RN). Throughout my career, I have unfortunately seen too many patients receive late-stage cancer diagnoses. If these patients were diagnosed and treated sooner, it would have dramatically increased their survival rate and at the least improved their quality of life. This information is supported by a 2022 study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showing that 50% of cancers are at an advanced stage when diagnosed(Crosby et al., 2022).
This is why, as a healthcare professional, I cannot stress enough that early cancer detection is not only vital, but lifesaving.
That being said, I have seen firsthand how challenging and overwhelming it is for patients to become their own health advocates. With approximately 36% of adults having basic or below basic health literacy skills, the common misconception that healthcare providers always “know best”, and the fear of voicing concerns and not being taken seriously, the barriers to early cancer detection become obvious. DetecTogether saw these barriers and worked to find a way to help patients break them down.
As a nurse, I stand behind DetecTogether’s teachings and would encourage all patients to utilize their 3 Step Detect plan. Comprising 3 steps including “Know Your Great, “Use the 2 Week Rule”, and “Share With Your Doctor”, DetecTogether offers an easy to understand, evidence-based tool that empowers patients to take action regarding their own health. The plan aids patients in learning how to assess themselves and the types of personal health information healthcare providers need to know in order to best help them.
In the busy and hectic healthcare environment of today, patients need to know that their voices are just as important as lab work, imaging, and other diagnostic tests when it comes to early cancer detection. When patients are able to successfully advocate for themselves, they become a valuable team member and as a team we can DetecTogether, and save lives.
Crosby D;Bhatia S;Brindle KM;Coussens LM;Dive C;Emberton M;Esener S;Fitzgerald RC;Gambhir SS;Kuhn P;Rebbeck TR;Balasubramanian S; (2022, March 18). Early detection of cancer. Science (New York, N.Y.). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35298272/