Self-advocacy for cancer patients is a crucial message stressed by Radiation Oncologist Dr Miriama Delaibatiki.
Speaking at the Self Care Retreat in Rakiraki for cancer survivors Dr Delaibatiki says patients undergoing treatment should actively keep track of their health, ask questions, and engage with their healthcare providers.
Dr. Delaibatiki, who has dedicated her career to assessing and treating cancer patients at the Kathleen Kilgour Center in New Zealand, believes patients must take an active role in understanding their treatment plans.
Dr Miriama Delaibatiki.
She stresses patients should not hesitate to ask their doctors questions as this level of involvement is a form of advocating for one’s health while undergoing treatment.
One of the key insights Dr Delaibatiki shares is that doctors heavily rely on patients’ feedback and communication to gauge the progress of a particular treatment.
“Some women yesterday, you know, they’re like, oh, but I’ve been to the doctor, and they said, everything’s okay. But I know it’s not because then I said, well, you have to go back, you know, you followed that advice for six months now. It hasn’t worked. You need to go back because as a doctor, I want to know if the treatment I gave you worked or not. And if you never come back, I’ll never know.”
Dr Delaibatiki says participating in the retreat has been a profound experience as she had the opportunity to exchange stories and insights with individuals who have bravely confronted the killer disease.
She also commends the organizers for bringing the survivors together, saying this will encourage people to come forward and openly discuss their journey of confronting cancer.