—Susan Stein, MPH
Connexion Healthcare attended the Turning the Tide Against Cancer National Conference in Washington, DC, last week where experts in cancer research, policy, and care convened to discuss various topics, including:
- Examining innovative approaches to personalized, patient-centered research
- Optimizing processes through which new medical products are evaluated and approved
- Implementing care delivery and payment models that deliver high-value affordable cancer care to patients
These topics provided the platform for excellent panel discussions and audience questions. However, the most meaningful presentation was from a young patient, a perspective that sometimes gets lost in the important but technical discussions regarding data.
The lunch keynote presentation was delivered by 20-something Suleika Jaouad, the Emmy Award–winning author of the New York Times Well column and video series titled “Life, Interrupted” and cancer survivor. Suleika graduated with the highest honors from Princeton University with dreams and aspirations of becoming an award-winning international journalist. Her dreams were cut short after graduation, when she was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and acute myeloid leukemia at age 22.
Suleika delivered her story in a way that was well beyond her years. She explained how her life changed as she endured multiple misdiagnoses and described the incredible stress this type of diagnosis puts on patients and families.
Although easy to overlook in our data-driven lives, understanding the patient perspective is a critical component to cancer care.