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Primary care physicians

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2009

My husband is a 17 year survivor of Hodgkins. He received chemo and full body radiation. In the past year he has developed vision problems that an eye specialist thinks is related to radiation treatment. Also, his primary care physician is leaving practice and he needs a new physician. I'm wondering, is there an internal medicine specialty geared specifically to cancer survivors? My husband is 42 yo, too young for a geriatric doctor and a long way from his initial cancer treatment to need an oncologist. I would think there would be some medical specialty for cancer survivors.

maya00i's picture
Posts: 43
Joined: Jun 2009

I had problems with my eyes also. My cataracts excelerated because of the Chemo and rad.
I had to have both eyes done. As far as the Doctor I go to a GP,I get my cancer meds and anything else I need from him.

soccerfreaks's picture
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sep 2006

First, congratulations to your husband for his survivorship! His success is certainly a beacon of hope for others.

Coincidentally, re the eyesight issue, I recently went to a new optomotrist for a new prescription. When this eye doctor read my history (including 33 rounds of radiation following head/neck cancer in late 2005, he urged me to have this special test done (I do not recall the name of it, if in fact he provided it) to see if the radiation may have had a negative impact on my retina, or so I understood.

I turned him down since this was the one aspect of the care he was providing that was NOT covered by my insurance.

I bring that up only as something to think about.

Re 'cancer survivor doctors' I am not aware of such a beast. I have been reading a great deal about long term survivorship, and my understanding is that, for the most part, the population of truly long term survivors, such as your husband, has not been sufficiently large enough to compel dollars toward research, much less specialists.

This is, of course, changing. We should be thankful that this is so, obviously, but, alas, if they only recently really begun to do comprehensive research into the subject, results are apt to be some time in bearing fruit.

By the same token, it may be some before doctors become specialists in the care of long term survivors, if ever. (I AM aware that there are now 'cancer trainers', specialists in providing appropriate exercise programs for survivors, so who knows with respect to doctors specializing as well.)

Like Maya, I consult my GP when I have problems, comfortable that he is aware of my history and that he will take appropriate -- and quick -- measures when he thinks that my history warrants such.

As always and with any doctor selected for ANY purpose, find a new GP that your husband is comfortable with, one you feel will take his cancer history seriously along with the potential for continuing or surfacing long term effects. They are out there (both the side effects AND the doctors :)).

Good luck and best wishes.

Take care,


Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2009

Thanks for the replies. The GP he was seeing was also a cancer survivor, so I felt he was always on top of things. Fortunately, all the doctors he has ever been to post-cancer have taken a lot of time asking questions and are genuinely interested in knowing all the details of his treatments. Hopefully, we can find another!

Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2009

MOST of you guys/gals are lucky to have a caring primary care physician. Mine's almost cost me my life. IN July of 1999 I START visting my doctor for severe headaches. I was "told that i had a sinus infection, and so I began treatment for a sinus infection. the pain continued until November. I went to work everyday ,about 26 miles away. for about 3 months, I left work everyday with tearing running down my face,with that severe headache. SO my next step was to visit the emergency room. The doctor ordered a cat-scan,what she found was blockage in my sinus cavities.I was informed that, I had a tumor, cyst,or an abcess. I immediately call my doctor to request permission to see a specialist. I was informed that (he)the doctor couldn't let me see a specialist until need used all of his resources. IF the on-call physician had called and cursed my primary physician out, i would be pushing up daisies. WHEN i was diagnosed with cancer DEC. 18, 1999 is was in the last stage. my cancer doctor asked me did i ever tell my primary care physician that i had cancer, i reply for what!

SonSon's picture
Posts: 186
Joined: Jul 2009

Let me guess...you had HMO type of insurance.
I wouldn't contact the doctor to tell him you had cancer - I'd be writing the medical licensing board.

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