How to Be an Active Health Advocate

Advocacy Series: #1 – Get Curious

Thanks for joining us for the new Advocacy series!

Jeff and I are teaming up to showcase 5 Ways cancer caregivers and their loved ones can be active health advocates and navigate the daily demands of cancer with strength and confidence.

Our hope is that you’ll share your experiences with us in the comments so that we can learn from you!

Let’s Jump in…


You hear: He’ll have a PCA with a 6-minute lockout and I’ve also ordered PO pain meds.”

How will you respond?

Get Curious - Cancer Caregiving

#1. Get Curious

When starting a new job, every company has its own set of acronyms to learn. The medical system is filled with a TON of terms – all of which when strung together provide valuable information about the condition and treatment of your loved one.

An active advocate asks questions and learns to understand and communicate the lingo.

If the medical team is saying something either you or your loved one does not understand, ask them to please stop and explain. If the explanation doesn’t make sense, ask for more information. Asking questions is not silly. It’s your right, and the right of your loved one to know what is going on.

What Jeff Has to Say…

“When we ask questions – about everything – it helps Jen and I get on the same page for what’s being done, what we need to prepare for, what we need to talk about. I like the clarity. And, getting these medical terms defined allows me to question something if it doesn’t sound right to me. With Jen as my advocate, she helps double-check that and makes sure I’m getting the right medical attention and treatment.

I’m just one person in the big process, the big (medical) machine. The team is providing service to so many people. And anytime there’s that many people and processes, there’s a higher probability of error. So our asking questions becomes a must-have.

The other thing is that based on my state of mind at the time (from fatigue or my pain meds), I might not even understand or be capable of asking questions. So having an advocate in the same room asking questions for me is invaluable.”

Now it’s your turn…

How has getting curious helped you manage the daily demands of cancer?

Post a comment.

Other Good Resources

>>Read on…#2 of 5 Ways to Be an Active Advocate

<<Go Back…Advocacy Series: An Active Health Advocate