I have a lot of clients who are doctors and I began asking all of them. But that was after I asked my internist who I should use. She gave me a local urologist who she went to med school with. I went to him first and he was a cold jerk. He is the son of the guy who started the practice. I signed up for a biopsy for which I would have to wait 6 weeks cuz "You know we are very popular and very busy". I slept little for two weeks because the office and doctor just did not seem like some place I would like to do business with for my cancer. I then call their office and cancelled the appointment and went to asking clients and friends. That is how I found my doctor. My advice, if something "feels" wrong, go find another "person/doctor" who can act like a person while still being a doctor.
How did you go about finding your doctors?
Asked by KarenG_WN on Friday, March 16, 2012
How did you go about finding your doctors?
Finding the best doctors to manage your care is often easier said than done. How did you go about finding your doctors? Any tips on how to find out the best professionals and cancer centers for your specific cancer type?
17 Answers from the Community
Great question, Karen!
1) Often a good doc knows a good doc - so I will take my trusted doc's referral seriously.
2) Ask friends and colleagues - I have many friends/colleagues who know good doctors.
3) Check them out! - I search on web about the doctors - LinkedIn, facebook, or simply Google-it.
4) Meet and Trust your gut - make an initial consultation appt. Observe, ask questions, and chat - feel comfortable? listening to you and take your questions seriously? do you agree with his/her approach and outlook? do you "like" this doc as a person, as a doctor, etc.?
5) If yes, no looking back, if not sure, go to the next list until you find "the doctor"
It is also good indication, if the office admins and doc's assistance are courteous and sincere.
This is my sequence. I love my surgeon, my ONC and Radiologist. Hope many feel the same.
When I went into E.R. and they ran the test and admitted me and told me I had cancer. I met the rad, onc, I was fine with them. Then I went to U of M and met my thorasic surgeon no problem with him. Started going through my procedures before surgery and after about 3 month with my oncologist we figured out we had enough of him and all his B.S. he would come in and tell me all about his golfing but nothing about me so we changed in the middle of it all and I'm so thankful that I did. So now my team and where I get chemo at are all at the same place. My oncologist team is a husband and wife she is his right hand woman I see her all the time over him better connection but he makes final decisions. Iam now very happy with everyone from the ladies who work the desk to the nurses that give me my chemo. I try not to be a problem and they all treat me like a queen. If you feel the least bit iffy with your Dr then change get on the computer and check out new ones or ask around at the other cancer related Drs office. Good Luck to all.
My local oncologist recognized that I needed a specialist, and that one was not available locally, so he did some research for me, and found me one of the experts I consulted with.
My Primary Care Provider, herself a cancer survivor also did research on my behalf and found another expert.
My brother's best friend is a renowned physician in NYC and a cancer survivor, and referred me to his personal oncologist. (Jon is supposed to have been dead these past 5 years.)
I had consultations with all 3 (all in NYC, about 170 miles from my home), and picked the one who felt "right" to me (my PCP's selection.) Of note, my local oncologist, on learning of my experience with the dr he found, no longer will refer to him, and continues to work with the dr my PCP found. I've had no regrets or questions about my selection.
I went to my primary care doctor with abdominal pain and fever. She wasn't sure what was wrong and called to admit me in the hospital that day because of a possibility of an appendicitis. Several different types of doctors worked on diagnosing me in the hospital. The gynecologist in the hospital diagnosed me as very likely having ovarian cancer. He referred me to an expert gynecological oncologist in another city about a 3 hour drive from where I live for surgery. I visited the expert gynecological oncologist before my surgery and he said that he had performed several surgeries like mine the previous week. My husband and I looked up information about him on-line and were very impressed - he is world renown, teaches techniques to others, and has written books on the subject. I had my surgery a few days later. After my surgery the gynecological oncologist referred me to a general oncologist near where I live for chemotherapy so I wouldn't have to travel so far. My general oncologist consulted with the gynecological oncologist on what chemotherapy drugs to use and how often. Based upon what I've read and heard from my oncologist, the best chances for cancer survival for a woman with a gynecological cancer is having an expert gynecological oncologist do the surgery and not a regular gynecologist. Gynecological oncologist are the most experienced in identifying and staging and removing all or most of the cancer.
some of my doctors where refered by another one of my doctors and some of my doctors I did research on them and if I thought that I would like to be one of their patient I would then make a appointment to meet with the Dr.
I had no problem explaining to the doctor my reason for being their and what my expectations for the meeting and also the fact that when in our family be are believers of in some situations it is not just your decision but it will be our decision and that we have a understanding on that.
What i mean by that is that; when you want to change a medication please let me know the reason for the change and explain to me how it would benefit me. I'm not a doctor is true, but I I do feel that I should have some say so about what happen to me.
I got into Sloan Kettering through contacts my sister-in-law had. I won't argue about "who is the best oncologist (mine of course)" but I'm here 8 years later against the odds. She's a pioneer of HAI pump therapy which, not to sound cliché, is what the doctor ordered.
I did have to find a second oncologist to follow the protocol my primary onc was due to insurance reasons and my brother did a lot of the work with that.
He came up with certain criteria that he felt was important like:
Age - felt they shouldn't be too young to not have the experience but not too old to not be up-to-date with the latest treatments.
Education - Didn't want someone that was "rescued" from Granada when we invaded Granada in the 1980s to liberate __________.
No offense to those who studied in Granada but we wanted one Made in the USA. If they had to go out of the country to become a doctor we were not interested. I'm sure there are PLENTY of great doctors who came from there.
Hospital Affiliation - Wanted them to be part of a well known cancer center for obvious reasons.
Ego - BIG egos need not apply. They had to be willing to let my primary oncologist call the shots and follow the plan she laid out.
We were able to find a doctor who was VERY good. If I wasn't able to stay at Sloan I would have been comfortable with this doctor. He also agreed with the plan of action laid out my my main onc and would have done the same thing.
One MAJOR bit of advice, get a VERY GOOD oncologist. What you do first in fighting cancer makes all of the difference in the world. You do not want your doctor to be un-doing what someone screwed up.
I hope this helps
Honestly, I had good dumb luck with my very first appointment. The first surprise was when the doc recommended chemo first then surgery. This was before I had learned much about breast cancer and even cancer in general.
Then, I was referred to a clinical trial, and it was the head of the department that became my lead oncologist.
I'm really glad to have been a part of the clinical trial. Not only did I end up with a complete pathological response, the best possible result of chemotherapy, but also I got to contribute to state-of-the-art breast cancer research. So that was a double plus.
If I had not been referred into the clinical trial, I would definitely have sought at least one second opinion in order to be sure that the treatment plan was appropriate for my type of cancer.
Another important thing for me was also docs willing to talk science with me - I am a scientist, and I read the scientific literature. As the docs were talking about my treatment plan, I read the literature to learn about recent results. As I saw consistency between what they were recommending and what the scientific literature was showing to be effective... I felt like I was getting the best treatment plan possible. Then add the experimental drug, and I felt like I had the best chance of having a complete pathological response. For triple negative breast cancer, which has higher recurrence rates etc... This is a big deal.
At the end of the day, I feel good about my treatment plan, which is basically over now. Now, it's quarterly check-ups....
I think I was lucky..... when I found my current family doctor (Internist) 6 years ago - I selected her for her age and her aggressive approach to health care. When diagnosed with cancer - what better place to be referred to - but the clinic that her husband belonged too.... Great care, approach and understanding!
I live close to Sloan-Kettering, a major cancer treatment center in NYC, and it happened that a family member of my gynecologistwas currently being treated by a particular doctor at this hospital. So it was a fairly easy decision for me knowing that doctors have an inside track in seeking treatment for family members. I agree with what has been written by others and might add a little: go to a doctor that has exemplary training (such as nationally rated medical schools, internships, and fellowships,) and go to a hospital that has the largest number of similar procedures per year that you can find. There are many very fine doctors working in hospitals that don't specialize in your procedure. Using them is not really optimal if you have a choice. Check out the hospital ratings and results. Look for a hospital that has results "significantly better than expected." It can be hard to find specific info about particular doctors and hospitals, but it's worth the effort of many hours of internet searching. If you're not good at internet searching, ask a friend or relative to do it for you. Give them the name(s) of doctors you are considering and hospitals you are considering. Be sure you get a doctor that you can talk to and who listens to you. I had a preference for a female doctor for female reproductive cancer, but I'm certain that there are just as many fine male doctors within this specialty, too.
I went with my Primary Care doctor's recommendations for both the surgeon and the oncologist. I trust her completely. Plus, she said those were the doctors she would want for herself if she was in my shoes. I am only 2 months into this journey, but so far I am very satisfied with all of my doctors.
I live in a small city. There were only 3 medical oncologists to choose from. First, I did research and talked to trustworthy people to decide whether I needed to widen my search and look to cities an hour to the north and to the south. I became convinced that our Cancer Care Center is just as good and is connected with the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. When it came time to choose one of the doctors, I trusted a nurse/friend who works in the field and hears women's assessments of them. She helped me make the decision. I received good care from him during treatment. Our personalities are very different, and now that I have met his colleague--same office, same age, similar impressive credentials--I think I would have chosen the latter. My second opinion on treatment came from a friend who is the head of the Oncology Department in a hospital in West Virginia. He went the extra mile for me, reassured me, and followed my journey. I have been blessed!
My family doctor discovered the cancer. I followed his recommendation for a surgeon, Dr. Lee in Indianapolis. He did a great job of explaining what to expect and exactly what the treatment would entail. I also used a dermatologist recommended by my family doctor, and she took care of follow up care.