Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 9

ANTIRACIST ADVICE

Black Women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer
than their white counterparts. We are also diagnosed with
aggressive types of cancer...
and maybe change the radio every once in a
while (lol). If more providers took this approach, and let their patients know that they
are part of their care team in a shared-decision making process, the provider/patient
relationship would be a lot easier. At the end
of the day, providers need to make sure their
patients of color feel as though they are able to
ask questions, request information from them,
and be part of the decision making process. "
Christabel asks: " If a health provider who
actually matched your own racial-minority
(or other identity named above) was in charge
of your care, what advice or questions would
you have for him/her/them? "
Keaton: " Continuing my response earlier, it
is entirely possible anyone to hold any type of
biases, even against their own culture. For example, even though I identify with the Hispanic
culture, I know that there are others who are
Hispanic who practice the culture differently.
Some may adapt their culture to align with
other traditions or life experiences they find
valuable, while others may be more traditional.
It is always best practice to have these candid
conversations with others to break down any
barriers that prevent you from receiving the
best care possible. Regardless of your age, you
are entitled to have your own beliefs and practices. You are also entitled to be respected. "
Court: " Because privilege is further reaching
than race/cultural identity, please be reminded
that it is still your responsibility to advocate
for the new patient in responsive practice. "
Marissa: " My answer would be the same [as
for the white provider]. "
Christabel asks Keaton: " Can you tell us more
about some specific issues that marginalized
patients might ask Medical Social Workers
for help with? "
Keaton: " As a young gay, ethnic [minority]
male, I was put through a lot of extreme challenges at such a unique age. I still considered

myself extremely young who needed guidance
with important life decisions, however, I was
considered a legal adult by the hospital. All
decisions were delegated to me and not my
parents. I was diagnosed and instantly thrown
into treatment. Before starting treatment, they
wanted me to make a life changing decision
within five minutes: 'Do I want to freeze my
sperm or risk being sterile due to the possible
side effects of chemotherapy?' I was told that
freezing my sperm would cost thousands of
dollars a year. Young adults should not have
to make these tough decisions alone without
the proper resources or education. My medical social worker actually was one of the best
resources that I could've had. She referred me
to support groups, to events that other cancer
patients attend, and even connected me to
other patients. She shaped my whole outlook
on life, both professionally and personally.
Medical social workers are there to ensure that
your mental health and well-being are just as
important and stable as your physical health.
Medical social workers also ensure a smooth
transition from your hospitalization back into
the community. Life after cancer is unique, and
affects different people in a variety of ways;
it is important to have the proper support to
ensure a healthy environment. "
Christabel asks Court: " Can you say more
about how 'every family support system looks
different?' Why is that important for the BIPOC
AYA cancer patient?
Court: " It is true that life is rarely linear, and
its complexity does not lessen when you add a
cancer diagnosis into the mix. Chosen families
are made up of people we share a connection
with. I am so grateful to have a large chosen
family to support me through both joyous and
devastating seasons in my lived experience.
My chosen family held me when my biological
family was not able to meet my socio-emotional needs. Providers can support patients
by acknowledging and including any support
available to the patient. Ask patients who it is
that supports them, before assuming that the
support consists of a spouse or living parents.

Conversation

Remain flexible to learning about differing
support systems. Please be concerned with
who it is that is able to meet the unique needs
of your patient, rather than a deficit of who is
not able to meet those needs. "
Christabel asks Marissa: " You mentioned,
'Every story, perspective and experience is
unique, and communities of color need to know
their voice matters too.' What would you say
are common misconceptions about patients of
color that you would like to dispel? "
Marissa: " Some common misconceptions are
that we don't listen to medical providers and
the advice they give, and that we do not want
to participate in clinical trials. These myths
and stereotypes are harmful as this means we
are not offered all of the options for our care.
If medical providers believe these things, they
have a tendency to streamline our care and
only offer one medication instead of four or
one surgery option instead of two. To improve
this, providers should ask their patients whether they understand everything that is being
presented to them. Ask open ended questions
like, 'My suggestion is to go this route, do
you understand what that means?' Providers
should also enlist the help of friends and family of the patient or a patient advocate that is
relatable to the patient to discuss concerns. "
CONCLUSION
To summarize, the experiences and issues
of cancer survivorship among BIPOC AYAs
cannot be singularly summarized; we are not
a monolith. The nuanced discussion and advice
presented here highlights the intersectionality
of individual differences among three BIPOC
AYA experts, and the influences of these factors
on their respective lived experiences. Takeaways
from this dialogue point to complex interplays
with structural and contextual influences that
may inform how still-developing racial minorities learn to cope with and adjust to the lasting
impacts of cancer in their lives.
We hope that our contribution here, and the
current racial awakening among non-Black
communities, will encourage AYA oncology
leaders to re-examine their limited outreach
to BIPOC patients. Let's work together to learn
about AYA challenges by respectful means,
and implement structural changes in cancer
care that result in lasting impacts to genuinely
benefit BIPOC patients - not just corporate
marketing. l
ELEPHANTSANDTEA.COM
DECEMBER 2020

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Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Elephants And Tea - December 2020

Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Cover2
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 1
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - Contents
Elephants And Tea - December 2020 - 3
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