Roger: Medical Caregiver
Roger is a radiation oncologist at St. John’s Hospital in Springfield and recipient of the Society’s Lane Adams Quality of Life Award for excellence in cancer care. Here is his story.
What do patients need most from their medical caregivers?
Patients come to us at a very vulnerable time in their lives. They need to know they can ask us anything. Many are worried that their questions will seem foolish. Others wonder why they can’t see a connection between the symptoms they have and the treatments we give. We open doors by listening deeply, sharing our expertise and helping them feel involved and informed.
Your staff makes sure all new patients learn about the American Cancer Society’s free support services. Why is this a priority?
Patients don’t do well when they have extra burdens. Early on, a Society volunteer came to me after meeting with a man who’d just undergone his first treatment. The man was distressed because when he got up that morning, he had no idea how he was going to get to the clinic. I realized a free ride from the Society would have helped so much – if only we’d told him up front that he could ask for one. Of course, some patients and families don’t need help, but most want to know every service available to them.
You received the Society’s Lane Adams Quality of Life Award , an honor reserved for the nation’s top cancer caregivers. What was your reaction?
Knowing the award comes from an organization I view as the leader in patient support makes this an unforgettable experience. The Society makes a real difference for everyone with cancer, and I value their partnership in helping our patients move beyond powerlessness to a place where they feel confident and engaged in their own healing.