I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Moshe Ornstein of the Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Ornstein has been overseeing my moms treatments and appointments at the Cleveland Clinic and has helped her greatly ever since she was first diagnosed. I want to thank Dr. Ornstein and all of the specialists at the Cleveland Clinic who have helped my mom over the past year and I look forward to their support and help as my mom continues her battle towards complete remission! The interview with Dr. Ornstein is below and I hope that the questions and answers can help provide information and offer comfort or reassurance for anyone struggling.
1. What are the recommended steps for a cancer patient during the days or weeks following a diagnosis?
It’s really important for a patient with cancer to try to get the proper information about their diagnosis. It’s also really great if they can find patient advocacy groups online and in person which can help explain to patients what is happening in simple (non-medical language). A new diagnosis of cancer can be scary and part of the fear is not understanding the complicated medical jargon. Support groups and patient advocacy groups can help with this.
2. What can families do to help with a loved one's diagnosis?
It’s important for families to support patients. The natural tendency is to try and “fix” the cancer and “do” something. But what most patients need is simply for a family member to be present, to listen, and to give a hug when needed.
3. What new treatments or medicines seem the most promising for the future of cancer research?
There’s been a big movement away from chemotherapy in cancer therapy thanks to years of cancer research. The field is moving from chemotherapy to immunotherapy which helps the body’s own immune system fight the cancer. In fact, a few years ago (2018) the Nobel Prize was awarded to Dr. James Allison for his work in the discovery of these therapies. That’s a pretty big deal.
4. Do patients often need to change aspects of their life following a diagnosis (diet, time spent at work, etc)?
This really depends. In general, I tell patients after a diagnosis to eat a well-balanced diet. I do not recommend suddenly cutting all sugar out of their diet like some people online recommend. Instead, I think all foods are ok in reasonable portions.
5. How have you grown as a doctor, and a person through your time spent with your patients/ has the difficult discussion of cancer taught you anything?
I have learned so much from my patients and they are my inspiration. I have definitely grown as a person taking care of patients with cancer and I’m grateful that they let me be a part of their cancer journey.
I would once again like to thank Dr. Moshe for his time answering these questions of mine. I am looking forward to more progress in both my moms battle and for the rest of your patients. Your interview with me is greatly appreciated and I hope that your answers will be able to provide information and reassurance to anyone reading, thanks!