Babette Rosmond: An advocate for patient rights

The New York Times health blog Well featured a post last week on Babette Rosmond, a New York City author and magazine editor who used her influence to advocate for patients’ rights to make their own treatment decisions in the 1970s.

Diagnosed with breast cancer, Rosmond refused to follow the routine cancer treatment option at the time—a one-step radical mastectomy. Instead, she insisted that she review her other options, a rebellion to which her surgeon responded by calling her “a very silly and stubborn woman.”

Rosmond was able to find another surgeon who presented her with a less-invasive option—an early version of today’s lumpectomy. After choosing this option, Rosmond launched a personal campaign to empower other women with breast cancer to fully investigate their treatment options before making a decision.

If you or a loved one is facing a cancer treatment decision, Open to Options is a free program of the Cancer Support Community that is designed to help. When you call our helpline at 1-888-793-9355, you’ll speak with a professional that will help you create a list of questions for your health care team so that you can communicate your concerns clearly and make the treatment decision that is right for you. For more information, visit our website.

Read the New York Times blog post, “The Right to Choose Your Cancer Treatment” by medical historian Barron H. Lerner here.


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