Dr. Joel Granick: My name is Dr. Joel Granick. I am a Medical Oncologist and Director of our palliative pain control team and I take care of cancer patients.
At Cancer Treatment Centers we take an integrative approach to treatment of patients. It is a team approach involving many different disciplines, including the traditional medical oncology, radiation oncology, surgical oncology. It also involves the use of complimentary and alternative disciplines such as naturopathy, nutrition, mind-body medicine, pastoral care, physical therapy – these are all part of the whole program.
In traditional medicine through the years there’s been sort of a paternalistic attitude toward patients that they have been told what to do, it leaves the patient out of the loop in terms of decision-making. This really is not a good way to practice medicine.
At CTCA we have the attitude that the patient is at the helm of the ship and we are sort of navigators. We are trying to give them instructions to be able to help them go through a tight passage.
When Claire came in he had been given sort of bad news. He had cancer. It was an aggressive cancer and absolutely needed to be treated and the treatment was surgery. And he wasn’t given very many choices. He was told he needed to do this right away.
He came to us for a second opinion and to try to learn what his options were. I explained to him all the different options. I explained that his cancer was definitely very treatable and that the prognosis was actually very good if he had appropriate treatment and that he had several options in terms of treatment, not just surgery.
Peggy was a young lady who had had a terrible shock. She was told that she had pancreatic cancer. She had had symptoms of nausea and turning yellow and didn’t know what was happening with her. She came in very frightened. She basically had a prognosis and was told that she should go home; settle her affairs because she was not going to be alive within a few months.
We get a lot of patients here who have been given prognosis based on what the journal say the life expectancy is, and we have to remember that patients are not statistics in a journal; they are individuals. They have their own cancer. They have their own body and the prognosis is not based on what’s in a journal; it’s based on the treatment that they receive and the will power that they have to try to fight the disease.
Peggy sent me a picture of her on her horse when she was just getting into remission and just lifted by heart, just to see someone who had been so ill and now was beginning to live life again.