An increasing number of cancer patients are using the internet to better understand their disease and connect with others facing the same challenges. Online cancer communities have developed into resources that highlight new research and evolving treatments. Combined with increasing health literacy and social media, they have enabled some patients to become experts in their cancer. This article in the journal JCO Oncology Practice examines the role of expert patients (e-patients) in advancing cancer medicine, and looks at opportunities available to those who wish to become more involved in research advocacy.
The authors found that e-patients play a greater role in their own care and in larger conversations regarding practice, research, and policy. They highlight that clinicians can engage e-patients as partners in cancer care to work together towards improving healthcare access and outcomes for people with cancer.