Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cancer Coach Provides Hope: Helping Patients Navigate The Medical Maze

Cancer Coach Provides Hope: Helping Patients Navigate The Medical Maze: "After 51-year-old Carlos Pinto was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer, his wife, Rebecca, launched an all-out search for the best treatment.

But the doctors she questioned all had different opinions and approaches. Her own sleuthing turned up conflicting information.

So the Pintos, of Wheaton, turned to a different type of expert: cancer coach Dennis Gibson.

Gibson, now in remission from both prostate cancer and lymphoma, helped the couple find a Los Angeles doctor who met their needs, he flooded them with reading material and he provided emotional and even nutritional support.

'There's so much contradictory stuff out there that you need the encouragement and the information on different levels; otherwise you just give up,' Rebecca Pinto said.

Cancer 'coaches' are not a new concept. The American Cancer Society's Reach to Recovery Program, which pairs a survivor with a newly diagnosed patient, has helped both women and men cope with breast cancer for three decades. Similar programs exist for other cancers.

But private coaches are jumping into the field to help patients cope with newer issues such as survivorship, complex and alternative treatment options and the health insurance maze."

These coaches are doing what used to be the doctor's job in the past.

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