• Something to ponder about small town rural area doctors and the time it takes them to land on a cancer Dx

    Asked by GregP_WN on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

    Something to ponder about small town rural area doctors and the time it takes them to land on a cancer Dx

    A person living in a small town is at a disadvantage to start with. First, the doctor doesn't see that many cases of cancer, and the rare ones they may never see. Second, the hospital is probably already operating in the red as a large number of small-town hospitals are closing, so the doctor is told to not be ordering those high priced tests (MRI, PET, CT) If you don't have insurance you are sure to not get those tests until everything else has been exhausted, and still you may have to apply for financial aid before they will do them. That can take 4 to 6 weeks. We all know that some types of cancer can go from not there to stage IV in that length of time. By the time they find it and it's stage IV, sometimes it's too late. So what do you do when you live in a small town and have an issue. I know of one friend who went from having a stomach ache, to stage IV in this exact scenario. It's a systematic failure and it doesn't appear to be getting fixed any time soon.

    4 Answers from the Community

    4 answers
    • Molly72's Avatar

      Not necessarily so--
      I live in the country, about 10 miles from a small town that has a wonderful hospital with an attached cancer center that puts all those "big" city ones to shame. It is affiliated with a chain of hospitals based in a large city.
      I have spent many days there, and found it superior to another very large university run teaching hospital where I also spent many horrible days being subjected to poor care. This place is in a large city.

      The rural facility has access to any tests or procedures one might need. But, if you might need something that is not available, you are sent to its "big sister" hospital, quickly!
      So, small is not always inferior.

      5 months ago
    • KB2013's Avatar

      I was going to doctors monthly for three years, growing sicker and sicker, those rural docs dismissed it as depression but, one trip to a specialist in the city for a different health issue and within a week, they handed me a diagnosis of cancer. Yes, big difference.

      5 months ago
    • Bengal's Avatar

      My experience has been very similar to Molly72. Small community hospital but with ties to "big sister". Anything they can't handle, you're whisked off to one of two choices of big city medical center. And sometimes I thing the level of personalized care is better in the small intimate setting. Your nurses, techs, doctors may be your neighbors. And when my mammogram showed "something" I was tested, diagnosed, biopsied and into treatment slam, bam thank you mam. And as far as rural doctors not being familiar with cancer, this is a cancer hotspot. They're probably dealing with more cancer cases than maybe anything else.

      5 months ago
    • Skyemberr's Avatar

      Some of us get misdiagnosed even in the big cities just because the hospitals are overloaded in oncology, and/or their surgeons don't look hard enough.

      All we can do is be our own advocate and keep yelling for action when we feel line we aren't getting adequate diagnosis or care. Sadly, some people are to sick to do that and they don't have family that will do it.

      In some parts of California where medicine is pretty good they still barely have a palliative program.

      5 months ago

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