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Lillian C

Lillian C.

Imagine the stress, confusion and worry you would feel if you were told the treatment you require to help yourself could, at the same time, put your loved ones in jeopardy. That was the dilemma facing Lillian C. when she was treated for thyroid cancer in 2008.

Lillian was given radioactive iodine treatment at her local hospital, but instead of being admitted to the isolation room (which was already occupied), for the following 5 days, she was ushered out the back door and told to go straight home.

"They didn't seem concerned about my 2 young daughters or my husband being exposed to radiation, but at the same time, they told me not to interact with anyone in the community," she recalls.

The minimal instructions she received and the seemingly disregard for safety protocols left her feeling abandoned by the hospital. "I may have felt more comfortable going home if I had been given clear instructions or if there had been a line of communication open so that I could call someone with my questions or concerns."

She joined Cancer Care Ontario's Patient and Family Advisory Council to prevent anyone else from ever having to deal with the same challenges she faced. Communication, she says, is the key. "In order for take-home cancer therapies to be truly beneficial to patients, there needs to be a well-organized process in place, and clear and consistent communication between healthcare providers, hospitals and patients."