Dr. Melissa Loh is an Assistant Professor from the University of Rochester and geriatric hematologist. Dr. Loh’s research focuses on testing supportive care interventions in older adults with acute myeloid leukemia.
Learn About Dr. Loh's Work Here
At ASCO 2023, Dr. Loh participated in a case-based session that talked about shared decision making using available treatment tools. In the session, a case of an older adult with AML was presented, and the group discussed how healthcare professionals can better facilitate shared decision making in this cancer population by performing a geriatric assessment, assessing patient preferences and incorporating a communication tool.
Dr. Loh recognizes that in people with AML, it is important that doctors assess patient preferences especially when patients and care teams have to make decisions at many points throughout the diagnosis. At the beginning of treatment, there is an important decision to be made which is choosing whether to do intensive therapy or moderate intensity therapy especially for those between the ages of 60-75. Asking the right questions during a clinic or hospital visit can really help providers reach a decision that aligns with what the patient wants.
How can patients be prepared and confident in the treatment decision they make?
Because AML happens quickly, it comes with a lot of shock, emotion and stress. This can make it difficult to process all the information about this diagnosis at one time. Dr. Loh feels it is very important to bring a family member or friend with you to your visits to support the patient throughout the decision making process. Patients and loved ones can also access additional credible information to learn at their own pace by visiting HealthTree for AML’s website.
HealthTree University is a great resource to learn about AML in easy-to-understand language. You can start watching and learning now by visiting this link.
HealthTree would like to thank Dr. Loh for the important work she is doing to ensure the AML patient's voice is heard. Standardizing communication tools and shared decision making strategies will increase the number of doctors and facilities that participate in incorporating patient preferences into each AML patient's unique treatment plan.
about the author
Katie joined HealthTree as the Community Director for AML in 2021. She is a registered dietitian who previously worked at the VA hospital in Dallas, Texas where she coached veterans with blood cancer on how to use nutrition to improve their treatment outcomes and minimize cancer-related side effects. Katie is passionate about health education and patient empowerment. In her spare time, she loves to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen, spend time running outdoors and travel to new places.