NORTHFIELD, Ill., March 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- When Kimberly Jewett, a young mother of two, received a breast cancer diagnosis of "ER-PgR positive, HER2-negative," it seemed like a foreign language to her. She wasn't sure what these words meant and how the molecular profile of her cancer would affect her treatment.
To help patients, such as Kimberly, the College of American Pathologists (CAP), the world's leading organization for board-certified pathologists, is teaming with the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) during National Patient Safety Awareness Week, March 8-14, 2015. Supporting this year's special focus of patient and family engagement, the CAP will offer education resources, including a video and handout, "How to Read Your Pathology Report," to help patients and their loved ones better understand their diagnoses.
"With advancements in molecular medicine, the pathology report can provide patients with information from specialized tests used to identify tumor biomarkers that guide individualized treatment," said CAP president Gene N. Herbek, MD, FCAP, and medical director at Nebraska Methodist Health System. "When a patient understands their pathology report and what the molecular markers mean for their diagnosis, it allows them to ask the appropriate questions regarding targeted therapies available for their type of cancer. We hope the CAP's participation in National Patient Safety Awareness Week will help encourage these meaningful conversations between patients and physicians."
Pathologists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis of disease by looking at tissue or cells under a microscope and by interpreting medical laboratory tests. Based on the pathologist's careful and accurate examination of a patient's tissue sample, a pathologist generates a pathology report, which gives the patient's diagnosis. Pathologists review the pathology report with the patient's medical care team to formulate a treatment plan.
"The CAP's participation in National Patient Safety Awareness Week is another example of our theme, 'United in Safety,"' said Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH, CPPS, president and CEO of NPSF. "Recognizing where our goals align and creating partnerships with other medical organizations, such as the CAP, help advance the work necessary to truly make health care safer for patients."
Advice to Patients
Today, Kimberly is a two-time breast cancer survivor who is enjoying life with her family and friends.
"My advice to someone who has been recently diagnosed with an illness, such as cancer, is to be your own advocate," said Ms. Jewett. "Ask for a copy of your pathology report and seek accurate and credible resources, such as those provided by the CAP, to help you understand your pathology report and your diagnosis."
Learn more about Kimberly's story and how a patient's medical care team relies on the pathologist's report to guide treatment and create safe and meaningful patient experiences. Details about Patient Safety Awareness Week, including CAP resources, are available on the NPSF website.
About the College of American Pathologists
As the leading organization with more than 18,000 board-certified pathologists, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide. The CAP's Laboratory Improvement Programs, initiated 65 years ago, currently has customers in more than 100 countries, accrediting 7,600 laboratories and providing proficiency testing to 20,000 laboratories worldwide. Find more information about the CAP at cap.org. Follow CAP on Twitter: @pathologists.
About National Patient Safety Foundation
The National Patient Safety Foundation's vision is to create a world where patients and those who care for them are free from harm. A central voice for patient safety since 1997, NPSF partners with patients and families, the health care community, and key stakeholders to advance patient safety and health care workforce safety and disseminate strategies to prevent harm. NPSF is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization.
SOURCE College of American Pathologists