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How important is it to have an gyn/oncologist for treatments and follow up care?

mom2greatkids's picture
mom2greatkids
Posts: 512
Joined: Jun 2011

I had a gyn. oncologist for my surgery last year. However, he is 150 miles away from where I live. I have a medical oncologist now. He administered my chemo last year. I think he is an excellent doctor. However, I fear that he has way too many patients. Waits for appts. are generally anywhere from 1 1/2 to even four hours. He has an excellent reputation. He also has a very kind disposition with his patients. However, he only comes to my local clinic once per week.

My concern is that because he is so "over booked," that I will fall "between the cracks." We watched this happen about 8 or 9 years ago with my Mom. Her dr. had way too many patients. (she had non-hodgkins lymphoma).

I know my surgeon does not care for the CA-125. He does I think only CT scans every 3 months. After my six week post surgery visit with him, he told me to call him should I ever have any questions. He told me to tell my dr. to send him my records. I do not know if he has done that or not.

I just hate the thought of driving that far every few weeks. Also, since I am currently unemployed, travel expense can become an issue. Since I have an apparent recurrence, I am at a loss as to what I should do.

Do any of you ladies have only a medical oncologist at this point? Just how important is it to have the gyn. onc. for follow up care and treatments?

Thanks for your input.

Carla

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sep 2010

Carla,
The closest gyn/onc to where I live is 4 hours away. I had my surgery done by a gyn/onc three states away. But I did most of my chemo with my local medical oncologist. I didn't see my gyn/onc for the last 4 months of my chemo. But I did go see him twice after completing chemo, once a month after my last infusion, and a second time 6 moths later. I sure didn't want to fly everytime I had a follow up appointment. But I didn't want to be put on the once every six months schedule too soon after treatment either. So, I switched to the doctor who is only 4 hours away.
Although my visits there are brief, he offers one thing that my medical oncologist does not...a pelivic exam. He feels that the pelvic exam is a critical part of monitoring my condition. If your medical oncologist does these exams, you have less need to travel to see a specialist. But if the medical oncologist does not offer this or is not very experienced at monitoring ovarian cancer, I think it is worth the drive.

lovesanimals's picture
lovesanimals
Posts: 1262
Joined: Sep 2011

As a stage 2b survivor, I've been NED since March 2011 (when my chemo treatment ended). I see my medical oncologist every three months. He checks my CA 125. With a stethescope, he listens to my heart and lungs, and checks for anything abnormal by pressing down on my abdominal area and listens to whatever I have to say about my health. I also see my gyn/oncology surgeon every six months. Like Tethys41, my visits with the gyn/onc surgeon are fairly brief but he does do one critical thing for me: he does a pelvic exam which I feel is a must. I would not feel comfortable only seeing my medical oncologist, but I'm very lucky in that both of my doctors are in the city in which I live. Carla, I know it must be so hard to make that long drive, and the issues with not working, but at the same time, I don't want to see your medical care being short-changed.

Kelly

mom2greatkids's picture
mom2greatkids
Posts: 512
Joined: Jun 2011

Can my regular gynecologist perform the pelvic exam? She found my cancer,and moved swiftly. She knew immediately what we were doing with. She arranged the appt. with my surgeon, one of the top in our state. My medical oncologist only talks to me. The NP listens to my heart, lungs. She also feels my abdominal area and checks for nodes in my neck. I am thinking about giving my surgeon a call tomorrow. I don't want to have this node in my neck surgically removed if not necessary. My onc. thinks it may not be ovarian since my abdominal area is clean, and my ca-125 remains normal. This is a really tough decision to make. But if I will receive better care with my surgeon, then that's what I find a way to do.

Thanks ladies.

Carla

By the way, no one has ever mentioned to me having a pelvic exam. I had surgery in May of 2011.

Tethys41's picture
Tethys41
Posts: 1057
Joined: Sep 2010

Doesn't your gyn/onc do a pelvic exam? I guess it would be best to talk to your gyn/onc and your gynecologist about whether an exam by the latter is adequate to monitor you. I would not feel comfortable having a gynecologist monitor me, but my gynecologist poo poo'd ovarian cancer for three months bwfore my diagnosis. It sounds like yours is more on the ball.

mom2greatkids's picture
mom2greatkids
Posts: 512
Joined: Jun 2011

I called my gyn. oncologist nurse today. She called back. He's on vacation this week. She has me scheduled to come in after I have the lymph node in my neck removed. She said that if it is indeed an ovca recurrence that he needs to set the treatment plan. She said at that time he will also perform my pelvic exam. Just so ready to find out what's going on for sure and get the treatment going...again...

Carla

lovesanimals's picture
lovesanimals
Posts: 1262
Joined: Sep 2011

I'm hoping and praying for the best possible outcome for you! Please keep us posted when you can.

Take care,
Kelly

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