After cancer survivors complete treatment, they can experience an emotional roller coaster. They might feel that, once treatment is over, they are no longer fighting. This is understandable, but there are many ways survivors can continue the fight.
Many survivors take on the role of patient advocate. As a patient advocate, one can become a peer reviewer of cancer research studies. Patient peer reviewers, also called consumer reviewers or advocate reviewers, help evaluate research studies. The involvement of advocates in cancer research is crucial, and often it is a requirement for research applications to be considered for funding. Researchers find patient advocates’ contributions invaluable. Incorporating the patient experience into the review process is a way to include a variety of perspectives.
After serving on research panels and hearing researchers call for greater advocate involvement, it is clear to me that something needs to change so that researchers can contact patient advocates in their geographic area who have similar interests and availability. Connecting both parties can make a world of difference.