Sydney Medical Oncologist, Dr Diana Adams has helped treat people affected by cancer at every stage of the cancer journey. From diagnosis through to treatment and survivorship.
At 19 years old, while studying at medical school, her best friend was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Having survived, Dr Adams’ friend then faced and survived a breast cancer diagnosis.
“It’s a very personal connection for me, and really drove my passion to work in the cancer space, particularly to work in survivorship and after-care,” Dr Adams says.
As Senior Staff Specialist at Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre and Cancer Survivorship Specialist at Evexia – Living well after cancer, Dr Adams dedicates her time to helping patients to manage their symptoms and side-effects from treatment. Her approach to patients involves discussions with a patient’s team of health professionals including GPs and other specialists in an effort to ensure patients are fully supported throughout and after their active treatment.
“As a health professional, I really think about the experience of the person I’m treating and how I can support them and their family.”
While researching information resources to recommend to her patients, Dr Adams came across Cancer Council NSW’s podcast series The Thing About Cancer.
“I really enjoy listening to podcasts and was already in the habit of listening to medical-related series during my commute to and from work. So when I came across The Thing About Cancer I listened to all ten episodes in the car and I found that everyone was just as good if not better than the last.”
“I think that for many patients, listening to this podcast series is the first time they’ve heard that what they’re experiencing is common and shared among many others affected by cancer.”
The podcast series was a new initiative by Cancer Council NSW, hosted by broadcaster and cancer survivor Julie McCrossin. Season one, launched in 2017, included ten episodes featuring interviews with health professionals and people affected by cancer covering topics as diverse as considering treatment options, coping with fatigue and explaining cancer to kids.
Dr Adams began recommending the podcast episodes to her patients at Macarthur and incorporated them into her survivorship plans for patients at Evexia.
The series is such a positive tool in supporting a patient’s recovery
“Each episode is just so easy to listen to and only takes 30 to 40 minutes. Julie McCrossin strikes the right balance and recaps each new topic that is visited in each episode. The series is such a positive tool in supporting a patient’s recovery,” Dr Adams says.
When asked which podcast episode she most frequently recommends to patients, Dr Adams said the episodes discussing the role of carers and how to help someone with cancer were the most popular.
“Those episodes are just brilliant. I know that partners, families, friends and carers are experiencing a lot of distress while trying to support a loved one with cancer and I often recommend these episodes to them.
Dr Adams has shared the podcast series with her colleagues and hopes more health professionals familiarise themselves with the resource and refer their patients to them.
“Cancer Council’s podcast is truly a fantastic resource for patients and clinicians alike. Not all medical oncologists may consider recommending resources like a podcast series to their patients but I’d like to see this become common practice.”
Cancer Council NSW is releasing season two of The Thing About Cancer in mid-2018. The second season comes with six new episodes covering common challenges that are experienced by people affected by cancer including managing fear, cognition and cancer, and family dynamics.
“Thank you to the Cancer Council for producing The Thing About Cancer podcast because these resources really help us to look after our patients,” says Dr Adams.
Dr Diana Adams is an Oncology Network contributor – please click here to view her Author profile and posts.