An older couple stand outside and the man kisses the woman on the cheek.
Do you really need a Cancer Care Advocate or is the basic care you receive from your public oncologist good enough? Read on to find out the truth about standard care and decide for yourself.
Joan was 45 years old when she was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma. Her public oncologist gave her the option of  standard chemotherapy , which, according to studies, would’ve given her approximately less than a year to live. Since her disease would not respond to  standard treatments , her oncologist told her that there were no other treatment options. She was told to get her affairs in order.
But Joan wasn’t ready to accept this – so she and her husband reached out to CTOAM. Our cancer experts helped them to access the right targeted treatments, among other things, and now Joan has been cancer-free for several years!
Check out Issue 5 of the CTOAM newsletter to discover 8 ways to advocate for your cancer care! Or, read more below.
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8 Ways to be a Better Cancer Care Advocate for Yourself or a Loved One

1. Access the Right Treatments for Your Form of Cancer

Joan’s public health care oncologist had been unable to provide her access to the life-saving drugs (immunotherapy) that she needed for her melanoma. The drugs that her oncologist would’ve prescribed for her stage IV diagnosis would’ve only worked for a few months. Without immunotherapy and the exact right treatment combination for the patient’s genetic mutations, melanoma is extremely hard to treat, let alone cure.

2. Access the Best Drugs & Dosages According to the Latest Cancer Research

Joan’s public health care oncologist – through no fault of her own – was unaware of the optimal drug dosage that Joan should be on according to the latest research. When CTOAM provided Joan’s oncologist with Joan’s genetic test results and the latest peer-reviewed studies, her oncologist agreed 100% that CTOAM’s dosage recommendation was superior than what was, at that point, approved as standard treatment.

3. Have the Chance to Get Expensive Drugs Completely Paid For

The targeted treatments that Joan needed cost around $250,000 CAD. Because CTOAM provided Joan with the data to back up the fact that she needed these drugs, her husband’s insurance company agreed to cover it completely. Joan received these life-saving drugs entirely for free!

4. Access Comprehensive and Accurate Genetic Testing and Anaylsis

The genetic testing provided by BCCA (British Columbia Cancer Agency) had actually missed Joan’s BRAF mutation completely, despite the fact that they’d been specifically looking for that mutation. (It is not uncommon for genetic testing to be poorly performed and analyzed within the public system.) When CTOAM facilitated a more comprehensive genetic test for Joan, our cancer experts discovered Joan’s BRAF mutation and used the results to determine the best treatments for her.
A pencil erases a cancer cell, illustrated in red.

5. Access PET/CT Scans for Diagnosis and Treatment Monitoring

Through standard care, Joan had not been sentfor a PET/CT scan. In fact, at the time, all of the PET/CT machines in British Columbia were out of order! CTOAM facilitated arrangements for Joan to travel to Seattle to access a PET/CT scan. After that, Joan’s public oncologist sent her for PET/CT scans, fully covered by BCCA, because she could see that Joan was going to get them done one way or another.

6. Get Evidence-Based Nutrition and Exercise Recommendations

 Joan had not received any advice on nutrition, or the importance of exercise, through standard cancer care. CTOAM provided her with specific instructions for what to eat, what supplements to take, which exercises to focus on, and thescientific research to back it all up. This gave Joan the proof she needed to feel motivated to make these changes, as well as have real hope grounded in scientific facts.

7. Get Educated on What’s Going On in Your Body

Similarly, Joan hadn’t received any information on the science behind her cancer from her public oncologist. CTOAM’s cancer experts, meanwhile, educated her in detail about what, exactly, was going on in her body and the science behind CTOAM’s recommendations for drug treatments, nutrition protocols, and exercise regime. Because when it comes to cancer, knowledge is power.

8. Learning What to Advocate For and How to Do It

Joan’s dermatologist had urged her and her husband to be the ‘squeaky wheel’ – meaning, toadvocate for better cancer care. But the problem was, they didn’t know what they were supposed to advocate for! How were they supposed to know which drugs, dosages, and tests they needed to get? CTOAM solved that problem by doing the research and telling them exactly what they needed to get and how to do it.

Find out how CTOAM can help you advocate for yourself!

Rugged man standing with arms folded at a farm.

Mark’s Carcinoma Story

Mark is a 53-year-old man from British Columbia, Canada, recently diagnosed with stage IV esophageal squamous-cell carcinoma. A CT scan provided to him by his public system oncologist found a significant mass in his esophageal-stomach junction, with possible metastasis to the liver. Mark’s oncologists suggested that he get low dose palliative radiation therapy and told him to get his affairs in order.
Mark was not willing to accept this outcome, so he reached out to us for a second opinion. We helped him access advanced diagnostic and treatment technologies not yet available through the public medical system.

Read about Mark’s journey

Meet Dr. Mikolaj Raszek, The Newest Member of the CTOAM Team!

Dr. Mikolaj Raszek has recently joined CTOAM as a Genomics Sequencing Specialist and Educational Outreach Coordinator. Dr. Raszek is the founder and general manager of Merogenomics Inc., a Canada-based company dedicated to helping individuals gain access to the best quality genome sequencing services.
As a genomics expert, Dr. Raszek has received his doctorate degree (PhD) in biochemistry, his Bachelors in genetics, and post-doctorate work in agricultural genomics. All studies were completed at the University of Alberta. In addition to his work with CTOAM, Dr. Raszek also works out of the United Health Centre’s medical clinic in Edmonton, Alberta.

Read more about CTOAM’s Genomics Sequencing Specialist

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With cancer, time is of the essence. Discover how you can live longer with Precision Oncology today: get a No Risk Second Opinion consultation from our cancer experts, free of charge. You have nothing to lose and years to gain.

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Published by on September 10, 2018