The Importance of Scheduling—AND Keeping—Your MPN Healthcare Appointments

Author: Voices of MPN

If you have missed or rescheduled health appointments during the past year, you’re probably not alone. However, for individuals affected by one of the rare, chronic blood cancers known as myeloproliferative neoplasms (or MPNs), regular appointments with your Healthcare Professional offer important opportunities to identify and discuss how your disease may be changing over time. When you miss appointments, you also miss out on those essential conversations.

MPNs are progressive diseases, which means they can change or get worse over time. Regular visits with your MPN Healthcare team enable you to work together to:

  • Monitor changes in your blood counts
  • Identify new or worsening MPN symptoms
  • Check for signs/symptoms of spleen enlargement
  • Address questions and concerns
  • Optimize your care management plan

There are a variety of examinations, tests, and procedures that play a role in both diagnosing—and managing—MPNs. Some appointments may require an in-person visit to your Healthcare Professional’s office or another medical facility, such as:

  • Physical examinations
  • Blood tests
  • Bone marrow tests
  • Genetic tests
  • Imaging studies

With the growing availability of telemedicine, it may be possible to supplement in-office visits with Telehealth (or virtual) visits, which enable patients and Healthcare Professionals to connect remotely, via telephone, tablet, or computer. Telehealth may be an option for:

  • Discussing MPN symptoms
  • Reviewing lab/test results
  • Asking questions
  • Sharing health concerns
  • Reviewing MPN tracking results

Be sure to talk with your Healthcare Professional to find out if Telehealth is available and when it may be appropriate for you.

When it comes to living with an MPN, it’s important to be an advocate for your health. Following through with healthcare appointments enables you to take an active role in your care. If you already scheduled an appointment with your MPN healthcare team—keep it! And if you haven’t, ask your Healthcare Professional how often you need to be seen (and then schedule—and keep—those appointments!).

To make the most of your healthcare appointments, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Keep an ongoing list of your questions and concerns and bring them to each appointment
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for additional clarification if anything is unclear
  • Share all of your symptoms with your Healthcare Professional—even if you’re not sure they’re related to your MPN
  • Keep track of your blood counts, symptoms and the frequency of medical procedures and discuss any trends with your Healthcare Professional

Remember, advocating for your own care can help you actively participate in the decisions being made about your care. And this enables you to have more informed discussions during your MPN healthcare appointments.

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