May 31, 2013 - 3:30 pm
I never thought I find myself on one these boards, but it is great to see there is such a willing support group.
My father visited the gastroenterologist in metro Detroit where he lives to investigate some severe reflux, and after an initial endoscope/biopsy detected cancerous cells they ordered a endoscopic ultrasound and PET scan be done yesterday and today. After the EUS, the gastro doc gave him a staging of T3 (spread through all layers of the esophagus tissue, but not into adjacent organs) and N1 (spread to 1 or 2 nearby lymph nodes) and based upon that suggested he is a cusp candidate for surgery. The gastro docs are associated with Beaumont Hospital system in Detroit, which is generally a high-quality hospital, but not a comprehensive cancer center and given what we've read about EC and how rare it is, we'd be well-served to visit a comprehensive cancer center and as such we are trying to get an appointment with the University of Michigan.
So far, the only feedback we've gotten is from the GI docs, but they are not oncologists. The strange this we keep hearing from U-M is that they insist that his first visit/consultation ought to be with a thoracic surgeon who will determine if he is a candidate for surgery before he meets with a team that would include an oncologist. This seems very odd to me, but was curious what others on this board have experienced.
To make a real estate analogy, it seems like asking a real estate agent whether it makes more sense to buy or rent. I don't imagine the thoracic surgeons have the most wholistic view on treatment options (chemo/radiation, etc.). It just seems you'd want an oncologist to weigh the treatment options and recommend one rather than just see if one of them (surgery) will work. Amy I crazy?
Also, does anyone have any familiarity with Proton Therapy? I've read that this treatment is available at only a limited (but growing) number of facilities in the country. Does anyone have any experience with this?
Any advice or experience on navigating this confusing situation would be appreciated.