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Issue IntroductionsEndometrial Cancer

Education After a Diagnosis of Endometrial Cancer: The Key to Empowerment

Ms. Shockney offers thoughts about education after a diagnosis as the key to empowering women facing this disease.
August 2022 Part 1 of 2 – Endometrial Cancer Special Issue Series
Lillie D. Shockney, RN, BS, MAS, HON-ONN-CG
University Distinguished Service Professor of Breast Cancer,
Professor of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Co-Developer of Work Stride—Managing Cancer at Work
Johns Hopkins Healthcare Solutions

When you heard the words, “you have endometrial cancer,” you may have felt as if you were thrust into a world of fear and uncertainty. Which, of course, is completely normal and to be expected. The question is, what should happen next? Along with treatment, your empowerment should happen next! You may wonder how you can become empowered. Well, I believe empowerment is achieved through education.

Your oncology navigator should provide all the information you need to jump-start your education about endometrial cancer and its treatments. The more you know and understand about this disease and the treatment course, the better sense of control you will begin to experience.

Being well informed enables you and your treatment team to have confident conversations, during which you can ask questions and understand the answers. Do not be embarrassed to ask questions; remember that no question is off limits. If you don’t understand the answer, speak up and say so. You should never leave an appointment or hang up from a phone call with your doctor or nurse feeling confused. While no one expects you to write your own encyclopedia on endometrial cancer, you need enough information to understand the disease and its treatment, how best to prepare for those treatments, how to minimize side effects and symptoms, and how to plan around upcoming milestones, such as your grandson’s graduation or your daughter’s wedding. This means working with the team to create a treatment schedule that will allow you to feel relatively well and able to participate in those significant milestone events.

Being empowered also helps you to educate your friends and family so they too gain an understanding of endometrial cancer, your treatment course, and perhaps most importantly, how they can be helpful to you throughout your treatment. A word to the wise: avoid medical advice from well-meaning family and friends who may have googled “endometrial cancer” and feel they have valuable advice to offer. Of course, they have only the best intentions, but it is crucial that you obtain credible information from your treatment team and websites the treatment team recommends.

Remember, the goals of your treatment team are to provide the best care, achieve the best possible outcomes, and educate and empower you with clear information so you can participate as a member of the treatment team.

On behalf of all of us at CONQUER: the patient voice, I hope you find this issue on endometrial cancer to be informative and empowering!

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Last modified: September 6, 2022

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