How to Assure You Are Getting Quality Cancer Care
Posted by January 7th, 2009
- Facts are first. Therapies vary greatly from on cancer to another and even among the same kind of cancer. Educate yourself on the resources and information on Cancer Centers and Specialty Center in your area. Your general physician is a good first stop to obtain information about your specific disease.
- Assign one person to coordinate contact with the primary oncologist. This will make the lines of communication run more smoothly. Although there will often be a team of experts physicians making decisions and managing your care, the primary oncologist will be the main point person for you and your family.
- Talk it over. The internet is a great resource, but nothing can replace face-to-face contact. Someone who has been through the cancer experience can talk you through the process and make it seem less overwhelming.
- Information Overload. Many patients and even more the family members want to learn as much about the cancer as possible and others are afraid to find information which would bother them. Family and friends can and should help by collecting and prioritization of information and allowing you to ask the right questions at your next visit.
- Ask the doctor. Ask and consult with your own physician about referrals to cancer specialist but also ask family friends and often the same recommendation comes up. Don’t be afraid to get personal and get at least two or three names of specialists to have the choice for a second opinion to make sure your treatment plan is the best possible.
- Many ears make sense. Bring family members or friends along who can take notes for your and assist in asking questions. Extra set of ears can be very helpful to collect all information during the visit.
- Check out your doctor. Find out what specialists your doctor is, how many cases similar to yours they have seen and their special expertise in your specific disease. Does he offer access to clinical trials. What resources does the office or center has.
- Comprehensive care. A comprehensive cancer center provides a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Often associated with larger medical institutions, universities or medical schools, they offer the latest in medication, new techniques, state of the art equipment and access to clinical trials. The have unique resources such as support groups, genetic counselors, dieticians, social workers etc. If you live close to a Comprehensive Cancer Center, see an expert there.