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Local Cancer Survivor and Her Doctor Believe Communication, Friendship Helped Her Heal

Publication: KLTV-TV (ABC, Tyler)
07/25/2019

study by the American Cancer Society (ACS) claims that good communication between cancer patients and their doctors leads to better outcomes for patients in their fight against cancer.

Mallory Cox and her doctor, Devin Brecheen, say their communication and new friendship has helped the healing process more than they could have ever imagined.

Cox has stage four ovarian cancer.

“I was diagnosed right before Christmas,” said Cox.

The young mother of two was scared, but her doctor helped her feel better in more ways then one.

“Then, I started my journey here at Texas Oncology, with Devin," said Cox.

“She came in very, very sick and all I could think was what could I do to help her?” said Brecheen, a physician assistant at Texas Oncology in Longview.

Brecheen said she saw herself in Cox.

“It’s hard to see someone that you see yourself in,” said Brecheen. “This girl is my age, we both have young children, this man is the same age as my husband — watching a spouse go through that — you’d do just about anything to make it better... try to make it better.”

One day Brecheen sat with Cox during her chemo treatment and their friendship began.

“I think it’s important to be able to relate to your patient on a personal level,” said Brecheen. “It’s not just science when you walk in here, and this is what you have and this is what you do and the end; trust me. It can’t be like that. You have to relate to them on a personal level and just get to know them.”

“She definitely knew how to explain things so that I would understand,” said Cox. “Being a mom too, she understood how to break things down so I understood them in the right way, because sometimes medical stuff goes a little bit over your head when you’re hearing it all and its overwhelming.”

Cox said Brecheen would also reach out to her personally every once in a while to check in on her to see how she was feeling.

Brecheen and Cox said they believe the ACS study — that communication with their doctor helps a cancer patients healing process — one-hundred percent.

“I think the communication between a provider and a patient is huge in the way the patient responds to their treatment and tolerates their treatment,” said Brecheen.

“Communication is big because there [are] so many different studies and everybody’s journey is different,” said Cox. “Now, I’m more comfortable with understanding ‘okay, that’s just part of my medication that’s a normal feeling now’. So, I’m kind of learning my new normal though what shes been teaching me.”

Both Cox and Brecheen said they want to stress the importance of genetic testing to everyone, especially if your family has a history of cancer.

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