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Oncologist question Specialist or no specialist?

Ruthmomto4's picture
Ruthmomto4
Posts: 638
Joined: May 2013

we switched to a new oncologist in May, he is general medical oncologist. Today I got a call from the hospital the dr who did his ERCP referered us to an oncologist at Yale who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers.  I don't know if he didn't know we had one already or if he thought she might be better for us. You can't see her without another dr refering you to her and she works with the surgeon We use. Is it better to see an oncologist who specializes in your type of cancer? I am not sure, but I think it must be right? I am avery strong believer in things Coming to you when you need them, but it could just be a referral  What do you guys think? Specialist or it's not that important? 

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 892
Joined: Apr 2017

From my perspective, it makes sense to go with the person or people with the most knowledge.  It is your life that is at stake.  I rejected my first surgeon and my first oncologist, and I am glad with my decision.  

Ruthmomto4's picture
Ruthmomto4
Posts: 638
Joined: May 2013

I think we will try her out see what she says. I am always so afraid of hurting someone's feelings, one Dr my husband went for a second opinion on refused to take him back. He got mad and said you went to someone else so it makes me nervous. Thank you for replying I love that you share the same interests as I do in supplements and other alternatives in addition to modern medicine.

SandiaBuddy's picture
SandiaBuddy
Posts: 892
Joined: Apr 2017

Thanks.  Cheers (on my second glass of red wine).

NHMike
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2017

I met with an oncologist at a local hospital and also met with the radiation guy locally. They suggested some local surgeons. I went for second opinions at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The Oncologist and Radiologist agreed with the treatment plan at the local hospital so I went with that but I'm having the surgery done by a colorectal specialist at Brigham and Women's Hospital (surgeries for DFCI are done there). The DFCI oncologist and radiologist were specialists - DFCI does such a huge volume in cancer cases that they have multiple specialists for colorectal cancer. So I'd definitely talk to a specialist, even if the chemo and radiation are done locally.

Ruthmomto4's picture
Ruthmomto4
Posts: 638
Joined: May 2013

these two doctors are not too far apart equal distances from the house. It was the fact that she works very closely with his liver surgeon that did the resection I was hoping she might convince them to resect or work towards it. I am also contemplating a third opinion at MSK. We are in Ct so that's not horribly far for us. I hope your surgery and treatments are successful! We have been through a few ourselves so anytime you have a question feel free To ask away 

abrub's picture
abrub
Posts: 2095
Joined: Mar 2010

Trust himself. Run, don't  walk away.  My feeling is that the specialist focuses on a particular group of cancers and is the best for that cancer.

Ruthmomto4's picture
Ruthmomto4
Posts: 638
Joined: May 2013

we are going to do it. The dr was his urologist and he was such a jerk about it!

NHMike
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2017

There was an article in The Boston Globe a few years ago about the phenomena of the big Boston Hospitals sucking a lot of the business away from hospitals outside the city because of their reputations and that it was hurting these hospitals financially. I imagine that doctors at local places may take some offense to people getting a second opinion or just going to the big city for all of their treatments. One of my co-workers did this to get world-class care at Dana Farber and he's alive today.

My local oncologist recommended many local surgeons but I decided to go with one from Brigham and Womens. He did not have any objections to getting second opinions at Dana Farber. I'm sure that he's used to it - he is a general oncologist but his treatment approach seems pretty much standard.

NHMike
Posts: 214
Joined: Jul 2017

It's nice that MSK is an option for you. Thank-you for offering to answer questions.

Annabelle41415's picture
Annabelle41415
Posts: 6210
Joined: Feb 2009

Generally it's better if you have someone who specializes in the specific cancer as they know what treatment works best.  My radiologist also specialized in my type of cancer so knew exactly where to radiate.  Makes a big difference as they study new treatments and procedures.  Good idea to just get checked out by another doctor as well. Second opinions are always a good choice.

Kim

JanJan63's picture
JanJan63
Posts: 2482
Joined: Sep 2014

I agree with what everyone is saying. I think it's better to have someone specific to your cancer. My onc was on holidays and had an onc that specializes in women's cancers fill in for her and she couldn't answer some of the questions I had.

Also, I changed from my first onc when she blew off the blood clots I'd been getting and told me to take aspirin and then I had one go to my lung and only survived by a miracle according to the ICU doctors. My onc didn't even have the decency to come and see me during the four months I was in the hospital. When I did see her the one time afterwards she was telling me how it couldn't have been from the chemo I'd been on after everyone else had told me it was. That was the last time I saw her. I also gave her a bad review on line. She was a very nice lady and I could see from the reviews how people like that and want that in a doctor. Not me, my surgeon has been publicly called arrogant in reviews. I like him and found him confident. I don't need nice, I need someone who is going to save my life and take me seriously.

Jan

 

Ruthmomto4's picture
Ruthmomto4
Posts: 638
Joined: May 2013

i still have not heard back from the intake nurse for this dr, I don't know how to reach her either but it's ok we saw the regular onc today. Once his bilirubin comes down we are hoping to start Xeloda 

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 4846
Joined: Jan 2013

I am more than happy with my Oncologist and Rad Onc, neither of which specialize in CRC.  Living in the rurals, and having to travel to the nearest city 160 miles away, chocies are limited. I could have gone east five hours to a Huntsman center, but decided on west to the nearest bigger city. 

It is good to have choices, but when you live in the middle of nowhere, its good when you find someone who you have total faith in, regardless of their specialisatoin. 

Tru

tanstaafl's picture
tanstaafl
Posts: 1292
Joined: Oct 2010

Better answers for both cancer and quality of life are needed.

I like to get multiple views and truly independent opinions.  We had some good response before surgery with alternative adjuncts like cimetidine and supplements described by Life Extension Foundation articles but still needed more - real 5FU chemo.  We sometimes interviewed (or interogate) 5-6 doctors to pin down a subject or option, but usually one or two are enough for simple items.  I interviewed and read several alternative MDs (e.g. Riordan Clinic) and one ND (Life Extension), with a lot of good information for free, via internet phone.  More medical opinions in the early years than now.

I interviewed a number of oncologists at length, never found one that gave us the answers needed.   Found more of our answers in the literature (some outstanding MD-PhDs).   We finally got started with one local doctor that had some experience with our preferred chemo, and we evolved from there with the previously successful alternatives too, extending the natural medicine angle.  Our "local" regular dr worked mostly by phone after statup but we had house calls from an alternative MD that was particularly interested (and we paid well).  It's worked out a lot better than "regular" would have.

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