CTCA prides itself on treating the person with the cancer, not just the cancer. Employees at CTCA are referred to as stakeholders, because each person working for CTCA has a stake in the lives of the patients and is involved in patients’ treatment one way or another. CTCA operates as an all digital cancer treatment center, which translates into patients getting faster results with fewer errors along the way. “Whole-body” treatment is the most outright difference between CTCA and other treatment centers; CTCA offers nutrition, naturopathic and mental health specialists as a part of the patient’s “team,” instead of just focusing on killing cancer. A care manager, who is typically an oncology nurse, quarterbacks the team of doctors and specialists for the patient, and the patient has overarching leadership in their treatment process. This team works together to figure out what they can do for the patient, rather than what they can do to the patient.
CONFIDENCE: “It would not enter my mind to go anywhere else now. It’s not even an option” – When patients are that confident in their treatment center, you know CTCA must be doing something right. Panelists talked about how their experience was so positive at CTCA that they didn’t want to leave after their treatment was over.
UNITY: “We are family” – Patient empowering programs like Cancer Fighters led by giant teddy bears like a man named Blas that I met make sure that patients are connected one-on-one with mentors. These mentors typically have beat the same cancer or are able to discuss similar treatments and interests. By keeping patients connected, whether they’re in the beginning or final stages of treatment, patients are reminded and reassured that they are not alone.
General downsides to CTCA:
INSURANCE: CTCA does not treat patients with Medicare/Medicaid, which poses a serious problem to young adult patients who are diagnosed without health insurance.
(possibly) TRAVEL: Although CTCA pays to fly their patients cross country for treatment, boarding an airplane every other week could be taxing for patients in the midst of treatment. I think it’s up to the patient to determine if the doctors and standard of care are worth the trip.
As the summit wrapped up Saturday afternoon and I took in the stories that the panel of caregivers and survivors shared, my heart swelled. The stories connected everyone in the room because we all “got it.” We all understood how tumors/cancer disrupts your life and how scary a diagnosis can seem. The panel testified to the light that’s starting to emerge for tumor/cancer patients in the healthcare because of CTCA; CTCA is “built on hope,” and I left CTCA with the hope that one day all patients will be treated with the utmost compassion, dignity, and respect, regardless of where they receive care. My biggest takeaway from Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Blogger Summit is the realization of how flawed other treatment centers are without a holistic approach to treating cancer patients’ needs.
Stay tuned for a video talking about the mAss Kickers that I met in AZ!