Hayworth Cancer Center MDC_2

Members of the Hayworth Cancer Center’s first multidisciplinary breast clinic team are, from left, Dr. Kalsoom Khan, Dr. Heather Pacholke, Brittney Huskey, Nicole Luther, Kim Lookabill, Dr. Mark Arredondo and Kelly Atkins.

HIGH POINT — Breast cancer patients at Hayworth Cancer Center will be the first to view videos recorded by a team of cancer doctors, related specialty providers and a mentor who shares her own experience of surviving her battle.

Multidisciplinary team members at Hayworth Cancer Center began working on these videos in early April, said Dr. Bernard Chinnasami, medical director. Videos providing specific treatment information for other kinds of cancer also are planned, he said.

The videos start with messages from a medical oncologist, a radiation oncologist and a surgical oncologist, Chinnasami said. After those, viewers can hear from other specialists such as a breast cancer navigator, a physical therapist or a dietician.

Chinnasami said he asked each of the team members: What would you like to tell every patient so that they know they actually need these ancillary services?

“The whole purpose of the video is because every cancer patient requires so many facets of care,” Chinnasami said. “The problem for patients is they’re scared and only thinking about treatment at that point, whether it be chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Breast cancer causes so much emotional trauma, but we know for a fact that if a patient’s diet is better, if their exercise program is better, or if they are counseled well, it will help them. It takes a village to pull all of this together. I always tell people just having excellent doctors alone is not enough. We need a whole team to surround every patient.”

The videos explain what specific team members provide and what resources are available to patients when needed.

In a video, a patient identified only as Mary Ann, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42, shared her experience of thinking doctors and nurses couldn’t feel what she felt. She used to feel as if she was walking blindfolded and being coached to take one more giant step, but knowing one of those steps could be off of a cliff, she said.

“Unlike 20 years ago, now we have a mentor program,” she said. “As a mentor, that is what I enjoy most, letting people know whatever they’re feeling is OK.”

Hayworth Cancer Center will provide an iPad to each patient to watch these videos while there for treatment and when they are ready for more information, Chinnasami said. Patients will get the URL address as well.

“We want to give patients a choice,” Chinnasami said. “The main reason we do it in a video format is so a patient can choose when they want to do it. They may be too overwhelmed to want to do something at this time, but then they’ll know that this is something that might help them later.”

Some patients question whether they actually need all of the related services that are offered, Chinnasami said.

“Sometimes a patient may say, ‘Well, I’m eating so that should be OK.’ But there’s more to it than that,” he said.

With these new videos, patients will be able to decide for themselves when they want to access another resource, Chinnasami said.

“We have experts in every field, not just in medical oncology or surgical oncology or radiation oncology. When it comes to diet, what kind of exercise program do you need? Or how do you get help with your spiritual health? We have experts in every one of those things,” Chinnasami said. “The nice thing is all those other things are completely free to them. It’s like getting complete coverage for every aspect of your care. It allows you to complete your treatment more easily. You have the whole gamut of the trauma of your cancer being dealt with, not just your medical needs.”

cingram@hpenews.com | 336-888-3534 | @HPEcinde

cingram@hpenews.com | 336-888-3534 | @HPEcinde