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markatger's picture
Posts: 315
Joined: Feb 2005

Hope everyone is doing ok. I'm doing ok. I have my first appointment with an oncologist tomorrow. I'm hoping to learn a lot about what the likely "plan of attack" will be. I still don't know for certain that the mass in my liver is cancer. I got a referal to go to the University of Washington to see a surgeon. I'm hoping to also get an oncology referal to go there so that my treatment will be coordinated in one place. It seems strange how you have a surgeon and an oncologist. Who's in charge?
UW has a 25 member team for colorectal cancer and a weekly clinic on liver mets. I'm wondering if the SCCA(Seattle Cancer Care Alliance - a consortium of the UW, Fred Hutch Research Center and Children's Hospital) is considered a "cancer center" as I've seen people reccommend here. Anyone out there been treated at the UW in Seattle?

Best Wishes

Posts: 120
Joined: May 2004

Hi Maria, sounds like you have a good area to go to, yes it does seem like one Dr. says one thing & oncologist is like well let's do this? Been there. I wish you good day with appts & plan but heads up & openly ask, talk, etc, cuz I let first time chemo treatments & stuff go by and went with the flow, a major, negative, then got 2nd opinion & talked to lots of people who work in chemo or drs. offices dealt with certain ooncolgist and got good info on what & who I needed. That is important, to be comfortable on who you see & feel easy talking your troubles or questions with. I found out the hard way & now am at the cancer center in my area & love it. They are the best, and professional, I could go on but you need to feel good where you are at> Right gang?well my thoughts are with you this week and stay as good as you sound. you will do just fine! best to you and God Bless, beat it!

Posts: 1961
Joined: Aug 2003

Hi Maria,
I guess there is no clear definition of a "major cancer centre". But, it seems to me that a university teaching hospital with a large colorectal team such as you are describing would certainly "qualify".

I don't want to suggest that a "major cancer centre" or a university teaching hospital is the only way to go -- I am sure there are many folk who have received excellent care in a variety of settings. And many of us don't have a lot of choice. I did end up at a university teaching hospital myself (went for a second opinion, and stayed). It happened to be geographically convenient for me. And, I felt able to ask questions and get very clear answers. For me, having surgeons who handled "volume" (lots of cases) was reassuring. This might be worth asking about. My surgeon openly discussed their internal audits and success rates, compared with published averages, which I also found reassuring (in terms of her openness in doing so).

Your question about the relationship between surgeon and oncologist is a good one! My surgeon and oncologist work together a lot, and get along well. But sometimes they had a slightly different perspective. I was sometimes able to take advantage of this! (for example, siding with the one who was willing to do an extra test). I think there can be a "natural tension" there (e.g. scar tissue: surgeon 'blamed' the radiology, oncologist 'blamed' the surgery - ha ha).

Good luck and best wishes,

spongebob's picture
Posts: 2599
Joined: Apr 2003

Hi, Maria -

My two-cents worth...

1. Remember that your doctor is your consultant and s/he works for you. They should work WITH you to develop a plan of attack - don't allow them to dictate, you should be an integral member of your team.

2. Yuou should seek treatment where you feel you are getting the best level of care. Be that at a university teaching hospital, the National Cancer Institute, a small country clinic, or at a monastary... what is important is how YOU feel about how you're being treated.

3. Yep - my surgeon and my oncologist disagreed on treatment options. Bottom line is refer to point number 1 above. They both work for you.

Keep a good attitude and live strong.

- SpongeBob