• New Doctor's

    Asked by addysmum on Tuesday, April 16, 2019

    New Doctor's

    I recently moved from Florida to Northern Virginia ( close to DC ) and had to find new doctors, The oncologist is great ( Georgetown ) but the Georgetown Breast Surgeon nurse i was referred i didnt care for her approach. Basically telling me it was up to me to monitor myself and that i would need to call if i thought something was wrong. This makes me very anxious and i really want to move on from this experience. Is this normal ? or should i find a new breast surgeon for follow-ups. Also now that i am past treatment and on meds for next 10 years why do i need to see someone else other than the oncologist? Also anybody know of any good providers in Northern VA

    13 Answers from the Community

    13 answers
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Your feelings are normal (not that I’m an expert on “normal”!). If I’m not happy with a doctor, I try to find another one. If I were you, I’d find a breast doctor I liked. You were diagnosed nine months ago, and its too soon for you to not continue to see a breast specialist. I saw mine for something like five or six years (maybe more, maybe fewer, can’t remember). I needed the reassurance of having an expert examine me.

      I continued seeing my oncologist for years, too. I finally was switched to the Survivorship Program at my hospital (MSK), where I saw a nurse practitioner until maybe four years ago. It’s been 20 years since my diagnosis.

      I hope another WhatNexter can recommend a good breast doctor near you. Best wishes -

      8 months ago
    • addysmum's Avatar
      addysmum

      Thank you for the reply - Good Information . These feelings are hard to navigate

      8 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      addysmum, they sure are! I went from hopeful to doom and gloom (my default setting) and back, many times. As for doctors, before I was diagnosed, I stuck with a radiologist I never liked; saw her annually for my mammograms. She ended up misdiagnosing the palpable breast lump that turned out to be cancer. I’ve learned THAT lesson: if I don’t like or feel comfortable with a doctor, I have to find another one (I tend to cling). I’m in NYC, with plenty of doctors. Where you are there should also be many good doctors. Maybe you can even find one in Georgetown University Hospital, even though your present one is also there? I realize that may be a bit embarrassing.

      A close friend goes to that hospital for her doctors. She never had breast cancer or I’d ask her for a recommendation.

      8 months ago
    • addysmum's Avatar
      addysmum

      Thanks - Georgetown is a great facility and you are right i will ask for a new one - I need to feel confident that they are working with me or i start to worry - I just want to make sure i have done everything i can and will continue to do so Thanks for the encouragement :-)

      8 months ago
    • gpgirl70's Avatar
      gpgirl70

      I saw my breast surgeon for some post ops and then to remove my port. Other than that, I only see my oncologist. It may be a good idea to get established with a breast surgeon just in case you have issues that arise later on. If you don’t like this surgeon, then definitely find another. Have you talked with your oncologist about your concerns? I may be misunderstanding the terms breast surgeon and breast specialist. I’m not near a big metropolitan area with a university hospital or large cancer center. However, it’s the norm here for all long term follow-ups to be solely with an oncologist unless there is an issue.

      8 months ago
    • cak61's Avatar
      cak61

      I questioned why I needed to continue visits every six months with the surgeon and her assistant said if I didn't and needed her again that she wouldn't see me. I thought that was pretty bad, what if you can't afford the co-pays to all these specialist? Well, she closed her practice due to a health issue after about a year.
      I was also having follow ups with the radiology oncologist, which I thought wasn't necessary considering he was out of the room within about two minutes and didn't have time to answer a question, so I stopped going to him after a couple of years.
      My oncologist said it wasn't necessary.
      So, I follow up with the oncologist, gynecologist, primary and have yearly mammogram.
      Does the surgeon have a good reputation? Sometimes their bedside manner is lacking but if they are a good doctor that can be overlooked.
      Hopefully you won't need a surgeon again but in the meantime maybe you can do some research and find one you would feel comfortable with.
      Best regards.

      8 months ago
    • fiddler's Avatar
      fiddler

      Hi addysmum, I had one follow-up with the surgeon. The onco doc did it all. Some people continue to see the surgeon, but they have little to do with cancer treatment - they take out the growth. If you have problems with the incision site or any developments caused by surgery, then go back, but you don't need to see the surgeon post-surgery.

      8 months ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      After my lumpectomy, I saw the breast surgeon in 6 months, followed by her NP every six months alternating with annual visits to the breast surgeon. Mammos reverted to annual screening too. Switched breast surgeons only because mine was booked way out and this new one is oncoplastic. I see my med. oncologist every 6 mos. but she has now given me the option of seeing her annually once I get my final Prolia & DEXAScan this fall. I didn't see my radiaton onc. once my treatments were done and there's no need to resume with him.

      Trust your gut--if you don't feel right about a member of your care team, see if there are patient-posted ratings of her/him, and if there's an alternative within your health system I'd switch. Switching health systems for one member of your cancer care team is not a good idea--it's doable but can be complex. (An outside oncologist or surgeon would not be part of your health system's tumor board, which could get messy down the line should you have signs of a recurrence). My primary is in a different health system, but now that both systems use EPIC, communication between him and my care team is easier.

      But you should still have a primary care doc. My onc. prefers that for anything non-breast-cancer-related (vaccinations, minor trauma, GI, cholesterol, asthma) I consult him and his P.A. As I'm past the age where Paps & pelvics are necessary, I no longer see a gyne.

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      I stopped going to my Breast Surgeon after the first year because I felt like I needed to be at work and I had a long wait for her. The Medical Oncologist said I didn't have to go to the Surgeon for follow-up any more unless there was a new problem.

      Years later I had a second primary in my stomach and was referred to a surgeon specializing in GI cancer. After one follow-up visit after my stomach surgery, he said he didn't need to see me again and the Medical Oncologist would see me for monitoring.

      I think if you let your Medical Oncologist know you aren't going to the surgeon for follow-up, he will say that's fine. Just be sure he knows. Best wishes.

      8 months ago
    • leslie48240's Avatar
      leslie48240

      I agree with Fiddler...once the surgery and follow-up check is done...why would you go to the surgeon? I never did...nor was I asked to. The Oncologist visits tapered off over time. I have great faith in him and he also said I should stay aware of any changes in my body and come back if any concerns. I'm good with that! (11 years past diagnoses and 10 years clear...from Stage IV BC Her2 +) Glad to still be here and don't miss the stress of re-checks at all!

      8 months ago
    • gpgirl70's Avatar
      gpgirl70

      That’s amazing leslie. I thought stage IV patients had to see their oncologist frequently. My mom has been stage IV for 11 years but she is monitored at least once a month sometimes twice. They watch her tumor counts and have changed meds several times. She had metastasis in her bones so maybe it depends on where the cancer metastasizes.

      8 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I continued seeing my breast surgeon because, first, she wanted me to, and, second, because she gave me breast exams, and I trusted her. Everyone else who was treated at MSK twenty years ago, (and probably more recently) continued to see a breast surgeon. My surgeon was also a breast doctor. I see that different hospitals treat patients differently from how we were at Sloan. Then again, it WAS long ago.

      8 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      When asked, we usually recommend going to an NIH National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center because of the high quality of the doctors and facilities. In D.C., you're close to many. including two in Baltimore--Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland---not bad! Here's a link to a list by state with phone numbers:
      https://www.cancer.gov/research/nci-role/cancer-centers/find#Virginia

      Others here have mentioned other well-known cancer centers in that area, so maybe they'll comment. Best wishes!

      Hope you enjoy your move there. It's very exciting.

      8 months ago

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