When you’re diagnosed with cancer, a ‘we can conquer cancer’ mindset is vital. It is time to assemble a care team you can trust. Most likely, your primary care doctor made a referral to a specialist who diagnosed your cancer or is a part of your care team to treat your cancer.
For example, if you went to your doctor because of a lingering cough and through a basic exam and imaging, your primary doctor decided it was best to send you to a pulmonologist. The pulmonologist then diagnoses lung cancer, and the list of referrals grows to include medical oncologists, surgeons, and radiation oncologists. Ideally, when a physician refers you to another doctor, it is because they feel that doctor is the best one to handle your case and meet your needs.
As you’re going from appointment to appointment meeting your new doctors, it is essential to remember a few things:
- Specialists are precisely that; they specialize in a specific kind of care or procedure or disease site. While they may know about other specialties, it is best to trust a surgeon on surgery matters and a radiation oncologist on the topic of radiation.
- Keep an on-going list of questions you have for each doctor. When you ask your questions, jot down the answers. It will be hard to remember everything that is discussed.
- It’s always wise to get a second opinion if you feel your questions aren’t being answered, or you would like to explore a treatment option that your current physician won’t address.
- Keep in mind the extra services beyond radiation or chemotherapy are important too for your comfort, outcome, and overall health beyond your cancer chapter.
Qualities of a good care team
- Collaboration- your network of doctors responsible for the treatment of your cancer should communicate with one another to develop the best treatment plan. All information, images, and lab results should be shared with your primary care physician and kept in your medical record. It is the job of each specialist to send this information to your primary care doctor.
- All treatment options should be presented to you, along with the benefits and risks of each option.
- United- Each specialist should allow the other specialists to be experts in their respective fields in order to have a cohesive treatment plan.
Offering the Best Treatment Plan
Our radiation oncologists and our multidisciplinary oncology care teams at Ackerman Cancer Center will carefully look at your diagnosis, lifestyle, and unique situation to give you the best treatment plan tailored to you. The patient-centric approach at Ackerman Cancer Center means you’ll play an important role in developing and managing your cancer treatment plan, working closely with a team of skilled professionals to ensure each of your specific needs is carefully considered.
We treat the whole person – comprehensively and holistically. Those services include onsite diagnostic services and same-day results, nutrition assistance and counseling, access to oncology social workers, an oncology certified nursing staff, and several support programs. Our board-certified oncologists are experts in radiation oncology are will create the best treatment plan for your cancer.