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What you can do

We want to help you build a solid partnership with your healthcare team by becoming your own healthcare champion. Here are some tips: 

Before the appointment
Preparation is key

Stay organized by:

  • Keeping a folder of all your printed medical records so they’re all in one spot 
  • Having copies of any test results or pathology reports 
  • Learning to use your treatment center’s patient portal to access your electronic records
Think of questions ahead of time

Some questions that might be helpful:

  • Is there anything I can do to deal with any side effects?
  • Does this treatment match my goals for maintaining quality of life?
  • What other options do I have if my current treatment stops working?
Keep a journal

Track any changes in your health:

  • Even things that may seem minor are worth recording so you can talk about them later with your doctor
  • While not every ache or pain is a sign of progression, it’s all useful information for your doctor
During the appointment
Bring a friend or family member

If possible, consider having someone come with you to appointments.
They can help you by:

  • Providing emotional support
  • Taking notes and asking questions
  • Making sure your voice is heard

Research has shown that bringing another person may help you have a more productive appointment. This can help strengthen the relationship between you and your doctor as well.

If you’re having trouble finding someone to accompany you, don’t worry. There are professional medical advocates who can help give you the support you need. 
Greater National Advocates is a service that can connect you with a medical advocate. 
Connect with a medical advocate
Review your records

Ask for records about your visit before you leave the office. If you made any requests to the doctor, you can make sure they were added to your file.

Record your appointmentIf your doctor is okay with it, use the voice recorder app on your phone to record your appointment. It can be useful for capturing anything that may not be in your notes.Confirm communication

Ask your doctor if they would be willing to share updates on your treatment with the other members of your healthcare team.

After the appointment
Get an expert opinion

No matter where you are in your multiple myeloma (MM) treatment, it may be helpful to ask for an expert or second opinion from an MM specialist. Seeking an expert opinion is common and is standard medical practice.

Download the MM Specialist Guide
Check in with yourself
  • Did you feel heard? 
  • Did your doctor address your concerns and fully explain the plan moving forward? 
  • If you still have questions, reach out to your care team
Find a doctor with a background similar to your ownHealth in Her HUE helps women of color find healthcare professionals with a shared cultural experience.
HUED connects people of color with healthcare professionals who are better able to fully understand their needs.
It’s a good idea to speak with a specialist called a hematologist/oncologist. They are experts in blood cancers and can provide invaluable insights and experience.
Find a hematologist/oncologist near you
Let's recap
  • Building a solid foundation of communication and trust with your healthcare team is vital to getting the best possible care
  • Prepare for your appointments—it’s key to making the most of the time you have with your doctor
  • Get an expert opinion—you can reach out to doctors who specialize in MM to get more information

A strong support community is important. Let’s look at some ways to get the help you need:

More about equity
Based on Age

Find out more about the differences in how older patients are sometimes treated.

Based on Income

Get helpful resources that can help people with lower incomes make their treatment more affordable.

Based on Location

Look at how living in a rural area can affect access to treatments and how to close that gap.

Based on Race

Learn about disparities in MM treatment for racial and ethnic minorities and how to advocate for the care you deserve.

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