Tips when choosing a cancer doctor

Few people may know where to begin when looking for an oncologist. The Rogel Cancer Center offers the following tips to help make that decision easier. Health news wires photo

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Few people may know where to begin when looking for an oncologist. The Rogel Cancer Center offers the following tips to help make that decision easier. Health news wires photo

Well wishes may come in waves when people begin to let loved ones know they have been diagnosed with cancer. Such wishes may express sentiments like “Get well soon” or “You can overcome this,” but rarely will patients hear, “Good luck with your doctor.” People who have never before battled cancer may not know it, but their choice of which medical professionals will guide their cancer treatment is theirs to make, and the decision can determine if their journey to beating cancer is a smooth or bumpy road.

Choosing an oncologist is a significant decision. Patients will want a doctor with experience treating their specific type of cancer, but they also can benefit from working with an oncologist who’s receptive to their questions and concerns. The Rogel Cancer Center at the University of Michigan notes that, unless patients are experiencing urgent symptoms like nausea, vomiting and pain, they have time to look for an oncologist.

Few people may know where to begin when looking for an oncologist. The Rogel Cancer Center offers the following tips to help make that decision easier.

¥ Speak with your primary care physician. Primary care physicians do not specialize in treating cancer, but they are no doubt familiar if not friendly with various doctors who are. That makes primary care physicians great resources.

¥ Emphasize communication. Look for an oncologist who keeps the lines of communication open and is willing to answer any questions you or loved ones have. Cancer treatment is complicated, and there’s bound to be a few bumps in the road along the way. So patients are liable to have lots of questions, and an oncologist who’s ready and willing to answer those questions and speak in reassuring tones if complications arise can help calm patients' nerves.

¥ Ask yourself some questions. After speaking with some oncologists, ask yourself if you understand each one’s explanations about treatment, prognosis and potential side effects. If your understanding of how your treatment will unfold is uncertain after speaking with an oncologist, you might want to keep looking.

¥ Look for a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center. The Rogel Cancer Center notes that NCI-designated cancer centers have received recognition for their expertise. Such centers also are high-volume and staffed with doctors who specialize in treating various cancers in an assortment of ways. A list of NCI-designated cancer centers can be found at www.cancer.gov.

Newly diagnosed cancer patients will make many decisions regarding their treatments. One of the most important such decisions involves which doctor will direct treatment.

SOCIAL MEDIA TEXT: Few people may know where to begin when looking for an oncologist. The Rogel Cancer Center offers the following tips to help make that decision easier. Health news wires photo

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