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Why Oncologists Have to Take Time to Educate Themselves on the Broader Patient Population

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May 12, 2021

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By Kayle Waterhouse

Too often oncologists forget about a significant portion of their patient population. As SurvivorNet Connect acknowledges racial disparities in multiple myeloma, a group of top oncologists noted that patient education requires an active approach from oncologists.

Dr. Brandon Blue, a hematologist-oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center, tells SurvivorNet Connect how important it is to recognize that the patients in large cities are not the only people who need to be educated: “All of Georgia isn’t Atlanta… we got to make sure that we touch the people who will never come regardless of what our efforts show.” 

Dr. Blue believes that “there’s no better mouthpiece with disease and helping each other than the actual people themselves. We will never be able to put a program together that will reflect as good of an outreach and education as the actual person living with the disease.”

 Dr. Vincent Rajkumar, a hematologist-oncologist at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, shared specific guidance for ways community physicians can better educate themselves on treating multiple myeloma. 

  • Attend meetings of specialized organizations such as the National Medical Association. The National Medical Association is an organization that holds annual meetings for African-American physicians to discuss MGUS and myeloma. These meetings cover prevention, genetics, and more.
  • Visit community centers and engage with individuals directly. Dr. Rajkumar says that “going to African-American churches and meeting with patients directly and informing them and educating them about monoclonal gammopathy” is an effective way to help bring attention to the problem.
  •  Meet with patient support groups and work to diversify them. “Even the patient support groups that our foundations run are almost overwhelmingly, very homogenous. And so we really need to make an attempt to see, or establish, support groups in inner cities and partner with hospitals there to see if we can go and speak more frequently and meet with patients,” says Dr. Rajkumar.