Health-care consulting for families facing a cancer diagnosis

Cancer Champions offers compassionate guidance and clarity to you and your loved ones throughout your cancer journey.

As your trusted guide, we empower you and your family with knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions about your cancer care and regain your peace of mind.
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With Cancer Champions,
You Don’t Have to Face Cancer Alone

If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed and anxious by a cancer diagnosis, compassionate support is available. Cancer Champions can ease your fear and uncertainty by helping you and your loved ones understand your specific disease, collect personalized healthcare information, evaluate your treatment options, and make informed decisions. 

Combining oncology knowledge with genuine compassion makes Cancer Champions a trusted advisor that complements your cancer care team and provides peace of mind throughout your cancer journey. Call Dana to learn more about how she can help to create a personalized roadmap to guide you and your family.


When you are presented with a difficult diagnosis, most likely you don’t know what you don’t know yet. Because I have professional healthcare experience and have personally been through several cancer journeys, I compassionately work with you to create a personalized roadmap to help you and your family navigate the journey. I also provide resources and informationto to help you take the first steps.


When you are making critical decisions — you need access to the most relevant information, tailored to your unique situation. With both professional and personal experience researching treatment options and supportive care solutions for individuals facing cancer, I am uniquely qualified to offer families the types of information and resources they will need to make better informed decisions about their care.


Upon hearing a cancer diagnosis, emotions often take control and inhibit decision making. Anxiety and fear may stifle important conversations that family members and loved ones need to have with the individual fighting cancer. I can help to facilitate these important but difficult conversations, with compassion and a kind and open heart.

From our inbox:

When my father was diagnosed with cancer I was in shock — and living 600 miles away. I knew he had been dealing with prostate cancer several years earlier, but I had no idea his cancer had returned and was so advanced.  

Dana was a true blessing. She went to see my father and assessed the situation quickly. Her knowledge of cancer was critical. She listened to the doctors and asked the right questions. She was far better equipped than us to discern what the doctors were saying — and counsel us appropriately. She monitored my father during his stay in the hospital and helped us navigate the transition to hospice. Dana was compassionate and a true professional all the way through to the end.

The nicest thing about working with Dana is her compassion. She has experienced the loss of her own parent to cancer and knows the confusion, uncertainty, and heartbreak involved. She is able to professionally communicate with the medical staff and gather the correct information — and translate it to us in an understandable way. Dana cried with us, prayed with us and was not afraid to be honest. I respected that.

— L.P., Atlanta, Ga

From our inbox:

As someone diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer just 5 months ago, I was overwhelmed and confused. I wasn’t sure whether my doctors were doing what I needed. I asked Dana to review my case and it was the best thing I’ve done since diagnosis. I’m so grateful I made the decision to work with Dana. For a very reasonable fee, she actually did more than expected. She is smart, organized, prompt, and compassionate. I am now much more confident regarding treatment options and what my doctors should be doing. My head has stopped spinning and I can sleep at night. Worth every penny.

— Lori R

From our inbox:

“It’s difficult to express in words the importance of an advocate when faced with a life-changing scenario like cancer. Dana was amazing, providing incredible counsel and guidance that was critical in the early days of our diagnosis. I could not imagine going through this again without the caring, loving expertise that Dana Hutson brought to our family. She is an angel.”


From our inbox:

“5 stars is just not enough for Dana Hutson. Dana has been a godsend to our family.  We lost my elderly father with Dementia after a cascade of events resulting from an ER visit.   My family has been struggling to bring closure to this situation.

I met Dana after a presentation she gave . During the presentation she gave an example that exactly described the experience we had at the hospital with my father. We hired Dana to go back and research the entire 30 day hospital experience and assist us in understanding what happened. Dana spent numerous hours reviewing hundreds of pages of notes from 4 different hospitals.

Our experience is far too common across the country. Unfortunately, we didn’t meet Dana until after my father’s death. If we had had Dana’s guidance, our family’s  outcome may have been radically different. I highly recommend seeking Dana’s assistance in advocating and supporting you during any type of medical situation. We will forever be grateful to Dana for bringing closure to our family.”


From our inbox:

“Money can’t pay you back for the wisdom you provided my family.”

From our inbox:

“You have been an angel that came into our lives…we could not be on this journey without you…”

From our inbox:

” working with Dana has been an absolute blessing for my family. She was able to quickly assess my mom’s situation and immediately offer solutions that made a difference. Her knowledge and tireless legwork is a gamechanger for families trying to negotiate the healthcare system.”


7 Questions to Ask Your Oncologist

It’s helpful to have a list of questions to ask your doctor when you are presented with a cancer diagnosis. Here are 7 questions to ask at your next doctor’s appointment.

Recent articles

Is Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment for Me?

Is Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment for Me?

Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment

Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment

Are you familiar with immunotherapy cancer treatment? If not, don’t worry. Most people associate cancer treatment with chemotherapy and its side effects, which have been around since the 1940s. However, there are many types of cancer treatments available. While chemotherapy is still widely used, the best cancer treatment for you depends on several factors:

  • Type of cancer
  • Stage at diagnosis
  • Location of cancer

Unsure which one is right for you? If so, you’re in the right place. Our qualified practitioners are revealing five of the most common cancer treatments in today’s blog post. Stay tuned to discover which one(s) is right for you. 

How Is Cancer Treated? 

So, how is cancer treated? Well, the best type of cancer treatment for you depends on your individual diagnosis and circumstances. Additionally, some people need just one type of treatment, and others require a combination of several treatments.  

Below are the 5 main types of cancer treatment:  

  • Surgery 
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation 
  • Immunotherapy cancer treatment 
  • Targeted Therapy 

Is Surgery For Me?

If you have cancer, you might get surgery to: 

  • Remove the cancer 
  • “Debulk” or reduce the amount of tumor
  • Relieve the pain or pressure resulting from a tumor

The best chance for a curative surgery occurs when a “solid” tumor is contained in one area (aka “ localized”) and removed entirely. Those are best-case scenarios, but surgery isn’t an option in every case (like with leukemia). 

Sometimes, surgery is the only treatment necessary, and other times, it’s used in combination with other cancer treatments. For example, cancer that spreads to other parts of the body requires both “debulking” surgery and “systemic” therapy.

If surgery is part of your treatment plan, it’s important that you’re comfortable with the surgeon. Verify they have the qualifications (and experience) to perform surgery for your cancer type, situation, and preferences. 

 Do I Need Chemotherapy? 

So, do you need chemotherapy? Well, the answer is yes if you’re looking to:

  • Shrink a tumor before surgery or radiation treatment
  • Eliminate cancer from your body
  • Lessen the chance it will come back or slow/stop its growth
  • Destroy any cancer cells left after surgery or radiation treatment
  • Help other therapies work better

Cancer is a cell that is rapidly growing out of control. Therefore, chemotherapy is effective because it kills fast-growing cells. However, there are healthy cells in our body that also grow quickly. And unfortunately, chemotherapy can’t differentiate cancer cells from healthy cells. 

Healthy, fast-growing cells are present in the lining of our mouth, intestines, and hair. That’s why damaging these cells by chemotherapy often causes side effects like mouth sores, nausea, and hair loss. 

We remind all our clients to be active participants in their cancer treatment decision-making and voice their opinions.  Ask your healthcare team about the side effects of their recommended treatment and inquire about their ability to manage those side effects. 

Do I Need Radiation Treatment? 

Radiation kills cancer cells by damaging a cell’s DNA beyond repair. As you can probably imagine, this causes it to stop dividing and/or die.  Radiation is delivered internally or externally, and it sometimes takes weeks of treatment before the cancer cells are dead. 

Below are some factors determining the type of radiation:

  • The type  of cancer and the size of the tumor
  • Where the tumor is in the body 
  • The proximity of the tumor to other sensitive tissue 
  • Other types of cancer treatment you are to receive

Many practitioners combine radiation with other cancer treatments (chemotherapy, surgery, and immunotherapy cancer treatment). Additionally, radiation is given before, during, or after those treatments to boost effectiveness. 

 Is Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment for Me?

So, is immunotherapy right for you? Well, Immunotherapy cancer treatment consists of: 

  • Immune checkpoint inhibitors
  • Monoclonal antibodies
  • Immune system modulators
  • Cancer vaccines
  • T Cell therapy

To fight disease-causing bacteria, our immune system identifies and destroys abnormal cells. And as research and technology continue to advance, we now have cancer treatments that help the immune system fight cancer cells.

These treatments help the immune system prevent or slow cancerous growth. But does it always work? Well, not necessarily. Cancer cells have their own ways of avoiding detection and destruction by the immune system. Additionally, they outsmart the immune system by:

  • Experiencing genetic changes that make them less visible to the immune system
  • Having proteins on their surface that turn the immune cell off 
  • Interfering with surrounding healthy cells, disrupting the immune system’s response 

The genomic profile of a tumor dictates whether immunotherapy is an option. And if it is, the genomic profile determines which immunotherapy cancer treatment to use.  Next-generation sequencing tests determine whether tumors respond to immunotherapy. So if this is something you want to explore, ask your doctor to order one. Then, rest assured that it reveals everything you need to know about the genomic profile of your tumor. 

What is Targeted Therapy? 

 So, what is target therapy? Well, scientists discover more about the changes in DNA and the growth-driving proteins within cancer cells every day. As they uncover this information, they develop specialized treatments to target those changes. 

Wondering if you’re a candidate for targeted therapy (aka “precision” medicine)? Well, your tumor must first contain the desired target. Otherwise, treatment won’t be effective. In most cases, practitioners use a Biomarker test to verify those targets. So, ask your practitioner if this is an option for you. 

Sometimes, targets change during treatment, and they become resistant to the targeted therapy. When this happens, targeted therapy is combined with other cancer treatments like chemotherapy or radiation.  

Targeted therapies include:

  • Small-molecule drugs –  targets found inside the cancer cell
  • Monoclonal antibodies – targets on the outside of the cancer cell

What Are the Side Effects of Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment? 

So, what are the side effects of treatment? Well, side effects come with every cancer treatment. However, the kind and severity vary. While some are long-lasting, others are short-term and stop promptly upon completion of the therapy. Additionally, you might find some tolerable, but others non-negotiable. So, if you’re worried about side effects, we recommend bringing those concerns to your care team. Ask them about the side effects associated with your recommended treatment options and use that to guide your decision-making.  

Find a Cancer Patient Advocate

The expertise of a cancer patient advocate flattens the learning curve when making important cancer treatment decisions. Not only are we well-versed in the healthcare system, but our compassionate team helps people make treatment decisions with confidence. So, if you want help navigating your cancer journey, Cancer Champions is here for you. 

Interested in learning more? Contact us or call (703) 403-7600 today to book a complimentary consultation. 

What Is a Cancer Patient Advocate?

What Is a Cancer Patient Advocate?

A cancer patient advocate is a qualified professional who guides a cancer patient through the healthcare system. Essentially, your cancer patient advocate stands by your side through screening, diagnosis, treatment, and any follow-up with your cancer. If you’re curious about how a cancer patient advocate can help you, keep reading. Our expert team is revealing everything you need to know in today’s blog post:

Benefits of Hiring a Cancer Patient Advocate

So, do you need a cancer patient advocate by your side? To help you answer that question, we’ve listed some reasons you should consider hiring an advocate for cancer patients:

Maintain Your Best Interest

As a cancer patient advocate near me, it’s our job to maintain the best interest of our clients. Whenever hospitals and insurance companies provide assistance, they ultimately have to answer to their employer. However, private patient advocates’ sole allegiance is to their client’s needs and goals.

Provide Knowledge & Expertise

Cancer patient advocates have extensive backgrounds in oncology. That means we’re able to understand and translate your specific diagnosis (and all the medical terminology) in a way that’s easy to understand. Not only that, but private patient advocates research relevant clinical trials and treatment options. Then, our individualized guidance and solutions will help you maximize your time with the healthcare team.

Offer Compassionate Care

When navigating the healthcare system, compassion often gets lost in the midst of information, appointments, and insurance forms. However, partnering with a cancer patient advocate guarantees your well-being and wishes are always accounted for. At Cancer Champions, our team keeps your best interest at the forefront of your cancer journey. As your cancer patient advocate, we vow to hold your hand the entire way.

Cancer Patient Advocate

Cancer Patient Advocate

Find a Cancer Patient Advocate Near Me

Would you like a cancer patient advocate’s expertise, compassion, and knowledge to accompany you along your cancer journey? If so, reach out to our team. When you partner with Cancer Champions, you gain exclusive access to a private patient consultant that understands the cancer journey from both an emotional and a healthcare side.

Curious about what we can do for you? Call (703) 403-7600 or contact our team today.

Considerations When Making Cancer Treatment Decisions

Considerations When Making Cancer Treatment Decisions

1 in 3 of us will either directly or indirectly face a cancer diagnosis.  That statistic suggests a diagnosis is relatively common. However, every individual cancer diagnosis is unique.  No two people have the exact same type of cancer, social situation, overall physical characteristics, values, and preferences. And because no two scenarios are the same, each person needs to feel comfortable and confident when making cancer treatment decisions. The question is: where do you start?  

Below are some important (yet simple!) steps you can take as you begin the cancer treatment decision-making process.  

Making Cancer Treatment Decisions

Making Cancer Treatment Decisions


After you receive a cancer diagnosis, you will be faced with a myriad of decisions about your cancer treatment.  Anxiety, unfamiliar words, clinical statistics, and a sense of urgency make these decisions difficult.  But unless you’re facing an emergency,  the first step is to reflect on what is important to you. You must identify the characteristics that reflect what a “good treatment plan” looks like for you.   

So, how do you do that? Well, start by asking yourself the following:

  • What am I most hopeful for from my treatment decision? 
  • Is there a type of support I’d like to have around during treatment? 
  • What kind of environment would I feel most comfortable receiving treatment in? 
  • Do certain characteristics make me feel comfortable and confident in my healthcare team? 
  • Am I anxious? If so, what about? 

Understanding Your Diagnosis 

The next phase of your cancer treatment plan depends on the following:

  • The type of cancer. 
  • Where the cancer is located. 
  • The stage of cancer.
  • The tumor’s genomic profile.

In order to know which treatment options are best, your healthcare team will need to know the type of cancer and where it started. 

Treatment options depend on these two pieces of information, and they vary depending on the stage and genomic profile. What does that mean? Well, the stage defines the size and extent of the disease. Additionally, the genomic profile is the next-generation sequencing of your tumor.  This report is ordered by your physician and utilizes tissue from your biopsy to identify potential targets for immuno-oncology treatments.  

An example of this would be cancer that has spread throughout the body, as it will likely require systemic therapy (given throughout your body), rather than a surgical option.

Research and Understand Your Cancer Treatment Decisions and Options

Based on your situation, what are your options? Ask yourself the following:

  • Is chemotherapy an option? 
  • Or is radiation an option? 
  • Is surgery an option?
  • Are you a candidate for immuno-oncology?
  • What is the best treatment plan for you based on your goals and vision of treatment?

The predicted course of cancer, based on the type and stage, will help you understand the goals of treatment.   For some, the goal will be a cure and for others, it may be to live well with their cancer. It’s important to be an active participant in cancer treatment decision-making.  Ask your healthcare team about what you can expect from each of the proposed treatment options.

Some additional questions to consider:

  • What are the short and long-term side effects of the treatment? 
  • Are the side effects reversible?
  • How will the treatment affect my daily life and activities? 
  • How much benefit can I expect to realize from the treatment? 
  • Why are they recommending this treatment option? 
  • How did they come to this decision? 

Understand The Goals of Cancer Treatment Decisions and Options

There are typically two goals of therapy, to cure cancer or to control cancer.   

During your conversation with your physician, it is important to know if the goal of treatment is curative (eliminating cancer) or palliative (controlling cancer).    

A curative treatment plan goal is to eliminate cancer and may also include palliative and supportive care.  

On the other hand, palliative care is a specialized arm of the cancer care team that provides expertise in specific areas of supportive care. This ensures you maintain good health and the ability to mitigate any side effects while undergoing treatment. 

A palliative treatment plan is one where eliminating cancer from your body is unlikely. However, treating and controlling cancer for as long as possible is the desired outcome.  There are many new treatments and therapies that can control cancer for long periods of time. These treatments deem “living with cancer” a realistic and manageable goal. 

Understand the Risks and Benefits of Cancer Treatment Decisions

There are side effects associated with every treatment. However, they can vary in severity and frequency.  Sometimes, the side effects of treatment can cause long-term side effects that may last for months (sometimes years) after treatment. 

Before making your decision about which option is best for you, consider the risks and benefits: 

  • What is the chance of cure/long-term control? 
  • Are there likely short and long-term side effects?
  • What is the likelihood of cancer returning after treatment?
  • Will a second cancer develop as a result of treatment?
  • What will the effect of treatment have on my independence and daily activities?
  • Are there financial side effects to this treatment? How much will it cost me out of pocket?

 Understand the Clinical Statistics 

Often physicians use statistics when describing treatment options.  You may hear them refer to disease-free survival, survival rates, and progression-free survival rates.  Generally, these statistics help determine how treatment options differ. However, they do not predict how well an option will work for YOU.   It’s important to remember that you are not a statistic. 

Get a Second Opinion

It is not uncommon for people with cancer to seek a second (or even a third) opinion before making a cancer treatment decision. Different oncologists, surgeons, and radiation specialists have additional expertise in their areas of research. Their input can help you make informed cancer treatment decisions that support your overarching goals. 

Top-Rated Cancer Patient Advocate

To help flatten the curve when making cancer treatment decisions – consider soliciting the help of an expert. As your decision-making partner, our guidance will assure you make cancer treatment decisions with confidence

Soliciting a professional health consultant/ private advocate with subject matter expertise in cancer and navigating cancer diagnosis is just the person to help you do that. Although cancer is common, every family’s circumstance is unique. Contact Dana for a complimentary call. We’d love to help you flatten your curve. 

Schedule a get-acquainted call 

The first step is a free 15-minute get-acquainted call to see how I can help. The next step is to schedule our first 90 minute consultation  , where I will personalize a roadmap for you and your family, and determine next steps.