“I don’t believe I would have been as successful, as I have been in my life, had not cancer made me aware of living. You got to be positive, and a negative is only an opportunity for you to find something positive to do. Look at life as a gift and take advantage of it”.
John Tucker Jr., Sarcoma Survivor, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Every Moment Counts
A cancer diagnosis dramatically affects every aspect of life. Cancer patients are immunocompromised, be it from disease progression, chemotherapy, radiation or surgical procedures, and learning to navigate the diagnosis becomes a full-time job. So yes, “Every Moment Counts” and must be accounted for. To lose time in cancer could mean a loss of life.
Regardless of stage, to hear the word “cancer” is lifechanging for both the patient and for members of their family. It is often said the three most important words in the English language are “I love you.” But, for cancer patient’s how quickly those beautiful words of importance are replaced when they hear, “you have cancer.”
The struggle to wrap one’s mind around a diagnosis of cancer is real. In the moment, to have the presence of mind to understand the specific cancer type, what treatment options are available, ask questions or even hear anything of value flies right out the window. Initially, patients will likely find it a challenge to process the information they have just received, and understandably so. How could anyone in this situation completely understand in just a few moments, what took doctors years of study to learn?
Additionally, family longing to be supportive also suffer the struggle as they are met with an internal slowing of their own ability to fully comprehend what their loved one is about to navigate on this path toward health and life after a cancer diagnosis. Knowing the best hospital facilities around the country, so that you or your loved one can receive the finest of care, could be the turning point in survivorship.
Best Hospitals in the United States and Outcomes
On July 28th U.S. News & World Report published its annual update of the best hospitals nationwide, listing their rankings and ratings. In order, and with direct links to each, here are the top 10 hospitals earning a place in the select specialty area of adult cancer care:
The U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals Honor Roll rankings further highlighted the top 20 U.S. hospitals excelling across most or all types of care. Should you have an interest, here is how U.S. News & World Report analyzed the data, pulled it together and made it available for us to review: Methodology U.S. News & World Report 2020-21 Best Hospitals: Specialty Rankings.
Each of these hospitals, in concert with their dedicated staff, are committed to the ongoing contributions they make every day towards the health and well-being of cancer patients. Once you make a decision on which hospital is your best choice, visit their website to look at “outcomes.” Benchmarked against the national rates, you can see results for hospitals around the country leading the way in adult cancer care.
A Story of Survival
According to the American Cancer Society, as of January 2019 there have been an estimated 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States. In 2020 there will be an estimated 1.8 million more cancer diagnoses. No one is immune from hearing those three words that administer such a significant blow, “you have cancer.”
A few years ago, during Cancer Survivor Awareness Month, Laura Ostrowsky, former Director of Case Management at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, shared her story of survival, worthy of resharing now.
“After my last treatment I went out to the waiting area and rang that bell three times in keeping with the tradition and then completely surprised myself by bursting into tears. The importance of that type of act or milestone can’t be underestimated” Laura Ostrowsky, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma Survivor, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
With 16.9 million survivors, that is nearly 17 million bells rung!
Travel to That Next Level of Care
Understanding available transportation methods can bring tremendous peace of mind and thus, peace within your heart. With these outstanding adult cancer care hospitals throughout the country, you, or your loved one, may be close enough to receive excellence of care. If, however this is not the case, there is a means to be transported and arrive at that next level of care in a safe and timely manner.
When it comes to the transporting of patients, from where they are to where they need to go, time is of the essence.
Have you considered air ambulance?
Understandably, the thought of flying while critically ill can be a terribly uncomfortable thought. However, when considering the advantage of air ambulance keep this in mind: An air ambulance is a medically configured ICU, providing a level of highly skilled medical care in flight. This method of transportation affords patients the ability to safely travel longer distances and reach their chosen hospital more quickly than conventional ground transportation (personal vehicle or ambulance).
Here are a few additional matters of importance when choosing your air ambulance provider:
- Look for a provider whose flight crew and clinical team are focused on safety and the delivery of high quality, patient-centered care.
- Look for a provider who exceeds required air medical transport certification standards. Can you imagine how different it must be to care for a patient being flown thousands of feet in the air, for hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles -vs- on the ground, in a hospital where every resource is readily available? Therefore, you will want clinicians with not only the years of experience in critical care, but also who have the added designation of flight certification; Certified Flight Registered Nurse (CFRN) and Flight Paramedic Certified (FP-C).
- Look for a provider who partners with hospital case managers and social workers to provide a seamless, less stressful, experience for patients and their families.
- Look for a provider with a flight coordination team dedicated to simplifying the process and saving you time through their logistical handling of the bedside-to-bedside transfer.
- Look for a provider with insurance specialists who will streamline the insurance process by handling the verification of benefits and preauthorization request submissions.
- Look for a provider who is available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year; Ready to assist day and night.
The air ambulance industry is taking care higher, providing cancer patients a fighting chance as they journey on to their next level of care.
“Celebrating every day. Every. Day. I have an extremely hard time sitting still and wasting even an hour of my second chance. While I’m alive and breathing, I’ve gotta take a huge bite outta life” Dawn Koppel Glavick, Stage III Invasive Breast Cancer Survivor, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Dawn’s mantra, “While I breathe, I hope”, has carried her through many an amazing adventure over the past 13 years of remission. As a reminder a tattoo of this mantra resides where she, and those around her, can openly lay eyes upon it, Each. And. Every. Day.
For additional information about air ambulance, please check out Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance’s Patient Services page.
Karen Derr, EMBA
Karen is the Business Development Manager at Angel MedFlight Worldwide Air Ambulance, heading up relationship management across the country. She specializes in engaging healthcare professionals at conferences and facility in-services from coast-to-coast. She has her Bachelor’s in Communication and an Executive MBA with an emphasis in Leadership. Karen has worked in Marketing and Relationship Management for the majority of her career, in addition to teaching college-level Marketing, Business and Management courses.