Blog How a DPC Provider Can Help Throughout a Cancer Experience
Direct primary care (DPC) can play an important role in the care of a person throughout their life. For people who are in good health, their DCP provider may be the only healthcare professional they see. For those who develop short-term illness, this provider may be the first contact to seek treatment. And for those who have a chronic medical condition, their DPC provider may also take on the role of coordinating their long-term care. Because of this, it’s important to develop long-term relationships, which can be particularly helpful when patients develop a serious illness like breast cancer.
Throughout the cancer experience, continuing to see a DPC provider is important for a number of reasons. Your healthcare provider will be able to:
- Rely on your long-term relationship, which existed before the cancer diagnosis
- Translate and explain information given by your oncologist
- Provide “holistic” care to the whole person and care for other medical conditions
- Be readily available for urgent care and prescription refills
- Provide emotional support
- Assist with coordinating care and communicating with specialists
Even before a cancer diagnosis, DPC providers play an essential part in preventing cancer. They counsel their patients on both risky and beneficial health behaviors, including tobacco use, diet, physical activity, sun protection and alcohol use. They also offer vaccines, which can help protect their patients against certain types of cancer. Less often, your DPC provider may prescribe medications that have been associated with reducing cancer risk among those at higher risk, such as aspirin for preventing colon cancer or tamoxifen for preventing breast cancer.
DPC providers also play a key role in cancer screening. They may coordinate your physical examinations and Pap tests, laboratory testing based on your risk factors, and imaging tests. They may offer referrals for other screening tests by following recommended guidelines based on your age, sex and other risk factors, such as family history.
Most cancers are detected in a primary care setting, and DPCs often lead the process in this phase of care. Specifically, they may guide your referrals to appropriate specialists and offer counseling or other support services. Patients may seek their DPC provider’s input regarding treatment options, often relying on their understanding of their overall health, values, and preferences that has been built over time. A relationship has been formed, and trust has been established. In uncertain times like a cancer diagnosis, this trust and relationship is more important than ever.
During Treatment and Beyond
During cancer treatment, the role of the DPC provider may become more complex, especially as the delivery of cancer care moves mainly to oncology practices, cancer centers and other additional healthcare providers. However, this phase may also involve your DPC provider’s management of chronic medical conditions, help with non-cancer-related urgent care, and a continued emphasis on healthy living.
During cancer survivorship, after you have completed treatment, your DPC provider may play a different role once more. They may be the only healthcare provider involved in your ongoing care or they may share overseeing your survivorship care with oncology providers. During this phase, focus is on watching for any recurrences and new cancers, managing physical side effects and psychosocial side effects, managing any other chronic diseases and supporting healthy living.
All cancer diagnoses are different, and a person’s care following diagnosis has to be personalized for that patient. It is important to know that your DCP provider may not be able to provide all the cancer-related care you need. That’s why you are encouraged to build a relationship with your entire cancer care team, who can help you handle cancer-related and overall health care issues.
Our team at EBO MD is always there for our patients and available to work with other healthcare providers to ensure our patients receive the very best care. Our simple access to direct primary care and affordable medication makes better health a possibility.
EBO MD is not insurance coverage. We encourage patients to maintain some level of health insurance to help cover the costs of medical care that they receive from medical providers or facilities outside our practice.
If you have questions about how your existing insurance policy will work with direct primary care, contact your insurance provider.