• How were you told about your cancer?

    Asked by greensmythe on Friday, January 18, 2013

    How were you told about your cancer?

    I was delivered the news in a very brutal way and it has colored by movements since, I wonder how everyone else was told and how the experience ( good or bad) effected you afterwards

    28 Answers from the Community

    28 answers
    • ticklingcancer's Avatar

      I went to the Dr for some "discomfort in the right side of my abdomen. They suspected it may be my gallbladder so they sent me to an imaging center for an ultrasound. Everything looked good but on the ultrasound they found what they thought was either a significant amount of fluid on my kidneys or a aneurysm about to rupture. They immediately sent me for a CT. After the CT was done they told me absolutely nothing and sent me on my way. I thought that was strange so we went back to my Dr's office to see if he had the results. Which he did. Pretty quick. What they thought was an aneurysm was actually a 10 cm mass in my abdomen. They also found a mass in my chest. This was on a Friday at 5:00 pm. All I knew was I had cancer. My Dr delivered the news very professionally. He spent the weekend trying to get me an appointment with Texas Oncology. First thing Monday morning I received a phone call from Texas Oncology saying they wanted me to come in ASAP. This was all set up by my primary care Doc. We were told by the finance person at Tx Oncology that it's next to impossible to get an appointment as quickly as I did. I have my Dr to thank for that.

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      I was initially told by my PCP during my annual physical. It was confirmed by the doctor who did my biopsy (don't even remember her name) and then again by my oncologist at my first office visit. Cancer is no more or less brutal based on how you were told about it. We may not have any control over events or others, but we have total control over our own perceptions of those events. So however you choose to perceive being told about cancer and to what extent that still affects you, that is totally on you.

      almost 4 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      I went into the hospital to have an umbilical hernia repaired. When I was in recovery, my surgeon stopped by to tell me he'd found nodules in the hernia sac. Luckily my general surgeon is also a surgical oncologist. I saw the doc who would become my medical oncologist before I left the hospital. I also had an internal pelvic ultrasound, both pelvic and abdominal CTs and a mammogram before I went home. I look on the whole thing as serendipity, as I was asymptomatic. Plus to have a surgical oncologist discover the issue.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      My PCP got some odd blood test results and sent me to a specialist. The specialist was a hemotologist/oncologist so I kind of wondered. The oncologist told me about the cancer in person in his office. The second time was by an oral surgeon and, again, it was in person in his office.

      Judging by some of the stories I've heard, I think many doctors have trouble giving the bad news.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Dick_K's Avatar

      My eye doctor questioned a mole on my cheek he did not remember. Went to a dermatologist who I could tell from the expression on her face it did not look good and was confirmed with a biopsy the following week.

      #2-2007-Myoepithelial carcinoma
      I felt a lump in my left parotid gland. My PCP referred me to see an ENT doctor, had surgery, told after surgery it was malignant; it took a little over two months for the type of cancer to be identified.

      #3-2009-Melanoma recurrence
      After unsuccessful treatment for persistent cough I went and had, X-ray, CT scan, two lung needle biopsies, PET scan, stage IV in my lung.

      #4-2010-Squamous cell carcinoma
      During routine dermatological exam growth removed and biopsied.

      In spite of having good PSA number, prostate lit up on routine PET/CT scans for melanoma. Confirmed with a biopsy.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Mel's Avatar

      I went in to meet my doctor to get results of the lump that had been removed. Thinking this will be like the first one I found and had removed and was nothing. The nurse makes me put the gown on sat there felt like an eternity, cold no music, tv, hello I'm still here!!... :) finally doctor comes in, think I was last one there and tells me came back cancer but it's a good kind and proceeds on and on and i'm still back at one you have cancer!! are you kidding me??. I started tearing up nobody was with me. He's talking about my options and I can't say i really heard one word he said. I walk out into parking lot just numb. and didn't know where to go or what to do. Did make it home texted my boyfriend he needed to come home. The feelings sometimes seem undescribeable.... and yet the whole process and what we go through and do, still is that way at least for me.

      almost 4 years ago
    • dcfitz's Avatar

      we find out yesterday my husband has NHL, and last nite he opened up to me and said he was so mad cause his normal doc was on vacation and some other doc comes in who could barely speak english to tell us this life changing news OMG no compassion what so ever so i'll tell u what i told him. these doctors do hope it helps this several times a day and its just routine for them and its there job and they have lives to and take vacations so try not to let it bother u so much thats why i joined this site to get compassion from other people who are acutally going through it

      almost 4 years ago
    • TinaJacques' Avatar

      I had gone in to the hospital by ambulance with cheat pain thinking I was having a heart attack (in only 26 but I've been a paramedic for almost 6 years). I was initially treated for heart attack but all my tests were coming back normal. They decided to send me for a CT scan. A few hours later I was laying in my hospital bed alone in my room and the doctor comes in looking crestfallen and tells me they found multiple tumors including a massive one measuring over 13cm which was irritating the nerves of the solar plexus and causing the chest pain. He said it was most likely lymphoma and scheduled an appointment with a hemato-oncologist. A few weeks later everything was confirmed with bone marrow and tumor biopsies.

      almost 4 years ago
    • greensmythe's Avatar

      Yes,I joined this group to get compassion and shared experience and I have found that on the whole and have also gotten some great guidance about where to go, etc. Comments such as those that blame or make a person feel they are handling a situation in a'wrong' way are totally unwarranted and are not supportive or helpful. The way that the brutality of the delivering of the news colored my movements was to infuriate me enough to get good medical advice. Not everyone is strong and brave in the face of this horrible diagnosis and I think we need all the support we can get from the onset- from initial diagnosis to forever.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I went to the dermo to have a spot removed that was bothering me. I had had it checked several times over the years and told (by multiple drs) that it was nothing to worry about (it had changed since the last examination so I don't blame the other drs as if that could change anything anyway). This dermo took one look at it, proclaimed it Melanoma and started scheduling the surgery to have it removed (that afternoon). It was a bit like cold water being thrown in my face, but also, because there was no waiting time for a biopsy to come back (this was done and confirmed the initial diagnosis a few days later), it was easier to go forward. I don't think I would want to change how it all transpired. I would rather have bad news right up front, than live in limbo. Plans must be made, actions taken.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I was told over the phone, after a Friday afternoon while I was at work. My doctor was on vacation and I had an appointment to see him the following Monday for a follow up ultrasound of my ovaries. I had gone for a breast biopsy the week before because my umammo and US were abnormal but inconclusive. His partner, a woman who I had never met or spoken to, called me Friday afternoon and told me over the phone that I had breast cancer but it looked treatable and my doctor would refer me to a surgeon on Monday and have a nice weekend. Needless to say, my weekend wasn't very nice.

      almost 4 years ago
    • GypsyJule's Avatar

      My cancer was diagnosed when a tumor was found during my hysterectomy. Even though I had encountered lots of problems that led to the surgery, the thought that I might have cancer had never entered my mind. Other people get cancer, right? Not me!

      I was told about the tumor over the phone by a nurse who read from my pathology report, but couldn't give me any real information. The surgeon had already scheduled an appointment for me with a local oncologist for the following week. That was the longest weekend of my life. I tend to "google" everything, and the information I could find online was horrible. I am fortunate that the oncologist I met with was kind and patient, and encoraged me to see an out of town gyn/onc who specilized in carcinosarcoma.

      almost 4 years ago
    • abrub's Avatar

      I went in for a "routine" hysterectomy for fibroids, expecting nothing beyond a sore belly when I came out. I felt fine in the recovery room, and was chatting nonchalantly with the nurses, though was surprised that my husband wasn’t allowed in to see me there, as I’d been told he would be.

      When I finally got to my room, my husband and my doctor came in together. Dr. C told me that he’d found cancer, that my ovary had been encompassed by a massive tumor that had originated in my appendix. I started screaming, crying, anything to get me to awaken from this nightmare.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      I had some blood in my stool that had been diagnosed as hemorids but then I got anemic too and my wife insisted I go to her Dr who decided it was something else and sent me to a Grastroenterologist to get scoped from both ends. I knew something wasn't right when ther were teling everyone else "everything is OK coma back in 10 years" but just told me to make an appointment to see the Dr for my results. Later that day my wife called the Drs nurse about the appointment as we were scheduled to go on vacation in a couple of days and the nurse told her that we should cancel the vacation that, while the pathology was not back to confirm it yet the Dr knows what cancwer looks like and I had colon cancer. We were devestated and did cancel the vacation.

      almost 4 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar

      I was referred by my PCP to an ENT specialist for severe left jaw/ear pain and difficulty swallowing, and a lump on the back of my tongue. A biopsy revealed cancer, My ENT told my husband while I was in recovery and came to tell me and that they were setting me up with my oncologist. I have had many further growths, the latest being a lesion in the frontal lobe of my brain (gamma-knife 1/24). My oncologist was very supportive yet professional. The news of cancer isn't good no matter how you are told. I can understand being upset about the manner in which you are informed, but try to focus on what is being done to treat you and on the journey ahead of you. Best of luck to you!

      almost 4 years ago
    • lkirchner's Avatar

      My daughter took me to emergency room at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. Did CT scan there and dr walks in and tells me they saw something and could be cancer. Just didn't like how he said that in front of my young daughter. No confirmation yet, but maybe I wasn't even going to tell my kids that soon or surely not that way.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Buttercup's Avatar

      I had been admitted to the hopital with fever of unknow origin. While they were looking and testing, they did a CT scan and a pet scan. My doctor came in and said they had found a spiculated nodule in the upper lobe of my right lung. He said it could be scar tissue but in his opinion it was cancer. He said it was small and they would make an appt, for me to see a thoracic surgeon. The surgeon agreed with my doctor and within 1 month I was scheduled for surgery. Luckily both of the doctors were very kind and made me confident that the surgery would go well since the nodule was very small.

      almost 4 years ago
    • shineon6's Avatar

      I was called on the phone after some biopsies were done, a left lobe was removed and I was told I was clear. When they called two weeks later and told me I had small cell in some of my lymph nodes I was told to be at the hospital in two hours. I was alone at the time of the phone call. it was a very bitter pill to swallow. very frightening to be alone. Very poor decision on the part of the doctors!

      almost 4 years ago
    • shineon6's Avatar

      I was called on the phone after some biopsies were done, a left lobe was removed and I was told I was clear. When they called two weeks later and told me I had small cell in some of my lymph nodes I was told to be at the hospital in two hours. I was alone at the time of the phone call. it was a very bitter pill to swallow. very frightening to be alone. Very poor decision on the part of the doctors!

      almost 4 years ago
    • shineon6's Avatar

      I was called on the phone after some biopsies were done, a left lobe was removed and I was told I was clear. When they called two weeks later and told me I had small cell in some of my lymph nodes I was told to be at the hospital in two hours. I was alone at the time of the phone call. it was a very bitter pill to swallow. very frightening to be alone. Very poor decision on the part of the doctors!

      almost 4 years ago
    • MRoadrunner's Avatar
      MRoadrunner (Best Answer!)

      Unfortunately the news is going to hit brutally, no matter what the delivery is like. I was told at the end of last August that I had lung cancer, (small cell, extensive stage, tumor wrapped around superior vena cava, inoperable and that all they could do was to keep me comfortable. The ER doctors told my family & friends that I wasn't going to survive past the weekend. My oxygen level was 52% at the time and I was in and out of consciousness. When I rallied enough to realize what was going on I started to fight. In November I finished 4 rounds of chemo and I am totally free of cancer in my lung. Don't give up!!!

      almost 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar

      I sort of told myself over the long 3-day weekend while I waited for the results of a biopsy I had on Friday. I replayed all the conversations I'd had on Friday with the mammogram techs, u/s techs, and the radiologist who did the biopsy. I could tell they all thought it was probably cancer. Still, the phone call I received on Tuesday at work was upsetting but I think the news was delivered as gently as possible and I was sort of braced for it by then.

      After that, there were several additional unpleasant surprises that I had to be told about when the extent of things was discovered to be worse than previously thought. These blows were delivered in a sensitive manner and I guess it helps that I didn't receive all the bad news at once.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Joachima's Avatar

      I was extremely anemic which led to two blood transfusions and finally a hysterectomy. My GYN Doctor who did the surgery had his nurse call me into his office a week earlier than my scheduled "final after surgery" check-up, stating that the doctor wouldn't be in next week and he wants to see me tomorrow. I went in, expecting an exam, but instead, the doctor informed me that the pathology report came back positive for cancer - then he sent it out to another lab for a second opinion (because it was a rare cancer). He briefly reviewed the two reports with me, though not in detail. His office had already set up appointments with a gyn oncologist, a radiation oncologist, and a chemo oncologist for the next week. This all took no more than 15 minutes of time, and all just two weeks before Christmas. Needless to say, I was in shock. Cancer was the last thing I expected. I'm sure that my reaction would have been the same no matter how I was told, however, because I was feeling so good after the surgery.

      almost 4 years ago
    • HeidiJo's Avatar

      I had surgery for a lump on my neck that they assured me was not cancer. They opened my up and knew right away, so I found out when I woke up from surgery. My surgeon told me and wiped the tears from my eyes. I will never forget that; I love him for being so kind.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Natilator's Avatar

      At first the surgeon said he "wasn't sure" what the lump in my leg was. He then called me after the biopsy to tell me it was cancer. When I first saw my oncologist he said "this is a cancer of a 60 yr old man, not a 32 yr old woman". I asked if I was getting prostate cancer next, he didnt laugh.

      over 3 years ago
    • bambi68's Avatar

      Husbands PCP got results from an MRI that was supposed to be due to a back injury...thankful she was fairly quick to do the MRI when other treatments were not working AT ALL! She sent us to an oncologist at our local cancer treatment center...unfortunately things went downhill fast & we were in emergency the night before his oncology appt.

      over 3 years ago
    • MaryTD777's Avatar

      I actually already knew in my heart that I had lung cancer, so when my PCP called to say I should have a CT just a day after a routine Chest X-ray, it was confirmed to me. When I got another call from him the same day as the CT I told hubby I knew it, but he made sure that he said all the right things he could think of to keep happy thoughts so the results would be good. I was sent to a pulm doc cuz my PCP said the only way he could order a biopsy for me would be if I was admitted to the hospital, which I didn't want.

      That was when things slowed down. It took 4 days to get an appt with the pulm and then a week or so for an appt for CT guided needle biopsy. Those results took a week and the b*tch nurse from pulm office who didn't like me for some reason told me the results weren't in yet cuz they needed more testing with dyes or something. I went ahead and called the pathologist office at the hosp and the girl there said the results had been sent via fax hours ago. I had her fax them to my PCP who called me within 5 minutes and sounded SO sad.

      I asked him to go ahead and confirm my feelings over the phone so I could move forward and he said I am so sorry to tell you that you have lung cancer, it's a squamous cell carcinoma. What can we do to help. I asked if they could arrange a PET scan for me and I would start looking for oncologists on my own. He promised me that if there was anything else I needed, to just call him or his office manager and they would do whatever they could.

      The most amazing part of them being so nice is that I had probably only been there 3-4 times over 5-6 years since I moved here.

      My melanoma years earlier was a mess. Derm said I had a "funny" mole that she wanted removed and that she was sending me to Dr Surgeon cuz he was the best and I should pay NO attn to the fact that he works in the cancer center. When I arrived for my consult Dr Surgeon said OK, let's see about getting this melanoma out. I actually had to pick up my jaw from the floor after I told him he was wrong and he showed me my file. The derm Blatantly lied to me!! Grrr.

      Wow, I blab don't I? Sorry =D

      Take care,

      over 3 years ago
    • Sandie's Avatar

      I found out purely by accident...I was in a car accident and received a concussion. They took a CT scan, and my upper lung was visible in the CT. They overlooked it when they first read the scan, but called me 3 days later and told me it might be nothing but to call my doctor, as this happened in another state, and follow up on it....I didnt find out right away...they kept their eye on it, and 6 months later, he ordered a PET scan....and it indicated it was lung cancer, which I might add, had already matastisized into my hips.....No signs...no pain....no weight gain, nothing.......Stage IV lung.....

      almost 2 years ago

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