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How to choose the right doctor?

Hatshepsut's picture
Posts: 340
Joined: Nov 2006

My husband had a colon resection and was diagnosed with colon cancer in May 2006. Cancer cells were found in three of his lymph nodes. He has been on Xeloda since. He is 88 and strong.

Now a ct scan has found a capsule of fluid in his abdomen (close to the surface) and when a radiologist extracted the fluid, some cancer cells were found. Which, I guess, means the Xeloda was not working. His June pet scan showed no cancer and this ct scan (of pelvis, abdomen and chest) showed no cancer other than the l-inch capsule which turned out to have some cancer cells. We have another pet scan scheduled for next week and I'm a nervous wreck. Our oncologist is suggesting surgery to remove the capsule if the petscan is negative.

We are new to this disease and overwhelmed with not only the fears that come with the diagnosis but also with the difficulty of learning what we need to know. (I'm 60 and I'm reading everything I can on the Internet. Some of the information is pretty terrifying, but other information, like the posts on this board, give me hope.)

I believe in our oncologist and our local hospital, Hoag in Orange County, seems to be very well respected. But, living as we do in southern California, we do live near comprehensive cancer centers like UCLA and The City of Hope. How do you know when you need to go to these advanced facilities? How does it work? Does the comprehensive cancer center work WITH your local oncologist or do you have to choose one or the other?

I would appreciate any information you can give me.


spongebob's picture
Posts: 2598
Joined: Apr 2003

Good morning, great and powerful Queen!

My significant other is also being treated at Hoag. Her onc is Dr. Nancy (that's her last name, not her first name!) After watching how her treatment is progressing, I have been amazed at the incredible standard of care she has received. Hoag is one of the foremost cancer hospitals in the world. You are right on track with your treatment facility of choice.

As far as your doctor goes, make sure he or she is someone whom you are comfortable with. Sounds like you have a good, caring, thorough team.

Another point to make; just because there are cancer cells present in fluid, doesn't mean that they are LIVE cancer cells. Removing that capsule sounds like a good, precautionary plan.

If you'd like more opinions on Hoag or contact info for Dr. Nancy, drop either me or USAKAT (also a member here) a note and one of us will hook you up.

Try not to be a nervous wreck (easier said than done, I know). You are at a great center and you certainly sound like you're in good, professional hands.

- SpongeBob

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

I LOVE the 'significant other' handle, dad!!!!

I, too, am in Southern California. I went to UC Irvine, Chao Family Cancer Center. I had a good experience there...(well, except for the NG tube...sigh...no one I know likes THOSE)!

I have also heard great things about Hoag. The biggest thing is to trust and respect your treating doctors...it makes ALL the difference!!

Hugs, Kathi

jams67's picture
Posts: 927
Joined: May 2006

I didn't know what an NG tube was and had to look it up. Sure glad I didn't know. jams

KathiM's picture
Posts: 8077
Joined: Aug 2005

Yup, harder still, they wanted to remove it, and then put a new one BACK!!! The 'NO WAY' factor came into play...hehehehehe.

Hugs, kathi

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