Self-Advocacy in Cancer Care

By: Alex Stalberger
talaya dendy

We all want to be heard. We want to have a voice, especially when it comes to our health. And times, they are a-changin’. As healthcare shifts to a more integrative and patient-centered model, it’s up to us to communicate our own personal values and expectations for medical care.

Self-advocacy is a skill that takes practice. It has the power to transform your medical experience. But how do you build self-advocacy skills while navigating a life-altering diagnosis like cancer?

To answer these questions, I turned to self-advocacy expert and cancer doula, Talaya Dendy. During this episode of the Podcast, Talaya further defines the role of self-advocacy in health care today and why it’s more important now than ever.

What is a cancer doula? A doula is a trained professional that provides significant support during a life-changing medical experience such as birth, miscarriage, death, and cancer.

Cancer doulas help empower you to take control of the treatment, face the fears, and cope with the physical, emotional, personal changes along the way. A cancer doula might help you prepare for an upcoming appointment, provide helpful research, or suggest remedies for treatment side effects.

As a local cancer doula, Talaya supports those most in need of self-advocacy during times of medical crisis. Her business, On The Other Side, uses multidimensional support to bridge the knowledge and confidence gaps often present in someone who’s received a new cancer diagnosis.

As a cancer survivor (more like thriver!) herself, Talaya has taken everything she’s learned about navigating the complexities of cancer care and channeled it into her personalized doula support. She’s built up her own advocacy skills from scratch and now teaches others to do the same.

“Self-advocacy is forming a partnership with your health care provider . . . and making sure you’re clear on your quality of life and your expected outcome, “


You don’t have to be a medical expert, but you must be an expert on your own expectations, boundaries, and values. “It’s about tuning in to your own body and mind and speaking up when something doesn’t feel right,” states Talaya.

Listen to the full episode to hear more from Talaya about how to cultivate self-advocacy in your own medical experiences.

Alex Stalberger is the co-founder of Well Connected Twin Cities and practicing holistic health coach. She firmly believes that quality of life is forever changed when we are empowered to take control of our health and discover all that is possible.

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