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Responsibilities of the Breast Cancer Patient

Just as there are rights that patients have and should expect, there are also responsibilities that patients with breast cancer have. These responsibilities assist the health care team in obtaining thorough knowledge of the patient‘s complete medical condition and psychological needs so that the care she receives is as effective and complete as possible.

  • The patient should provide all information that is important to the care and treatment decisions made with the patient. This information should include her complete medical history, current symptoms and current medical condition, candid information about the patient‘s psychological well-being, and the names and addresses of referring physicians and primary care physicians who need to be informed about her current condition and treatment plan.

  • The patient should read the educational materials provided to her by the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center health care team. She also should ask questions about any of the information that seems unclear or is of concern.

  • Follow up appointments are important for continuity of care and monitoring of a patient‘s condition, therefore patients need to make sure they keep these appointments. If for any reason the patient cannot do so the patient needs to reschedule the appointment for another time as soon as possible.

  • The patient is often given instructions related to self care such as taking medications or emptying drains. These instructions need to be followed as prescribed in order to optimize the treatment being provided. If for any reason the patient has trouble following the instructions she should call and ask for help.

  • The patient needs to express her thoughts openly and freely so that the health care team can be knowledgeable about any worries or concerns the patient might have that would affect care and treatment outcomes. There will be issues of concern to the patient which are non-medical but nonetheless affect the patient‘s care and recovery. The patient needs to bring these concerns to the health care team‘s attention, whether they are emotional, spiritual, or family dynamics related.

  • The patient needs to include at least one close friend or family member in the care process, bringing that person with her for each appointment. This designated individual should also directly participate with the patient in the patient education program conducted preoperatively.