The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2016, 1,685,210 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed. Whether you have recently been diagnosed with cancer or know someone who has, receiving care in a specialized facility is integral for your treatment plan. A cancer diagnosis, on its own, can be overwhelming and the thought of finding the best care facility can add to the stress and emotions you are already feeling. However, your search for a cancer care facility that meets all your needs and wants doesn’t need to be a long or arduous process. Here are some ways to simplify your search process and get the optimal care you or your loved one deserves:
Understand Your Diagnosis
Before selecting or even searching for a cancer care facility in your area, it’s important to know more about your cancer diagnosis. If you just received the news, it’s a lot to process and you probably have many questions that need answering. The best thing you can do is to write down any question you have and ask your doctor at your next appointment. Some things you will want to know for sure include, but are not limited to: What type of cancer you have, the stage it’s at, what type of treatment options you have, what type of doctor(s) you should be consulting with, and anything else about the cancer itself.
Remember, not all cancers affect people the same and even if you had a loved one with the same kind of cancer as you, it can not be assumed that you will have the same outcome. For instance, if you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and your grandfather was diagnosed with the same type of cancer decades earlier, treatment options have changed and you may also have caught the cancer earlier than he did.
Ask for Recommendations or Referrals
Unless your primary doctor specializes in cancer care, you will need to find a doctor who has experience diagnosing and treating your type of cancer. One of the easiest ways to find a doctor, such as a medical oncologist, is by asking your primary doctor for a referral or two. It’s also a good idea to ask friends or family members for any recommendations.
Once you have been given a referral or recommendation by your primary doctor or a family member, you may want to do a little research. Remember, you have the right to multiple opinions and often times, you may find that many doctors are willing and eager to work together in order to help properly diagnose and treat your cancer. Once you have compiled a list of doctors and facilities, it’s a great idea to make an appointment to visit in person. Be sure to ask any questions you have and let the overall visit help you make your decision. For instance, did you feel welcomed? Did you feel at ease while asking questions? Were all of your questions answered thoroughly and confidently? Do you feel confident that the doctor has experience in treating your type of cancer?
Finally, by utilizing these resources, such your local hospital, directories, and databases, you will be able to gather enough information to make an educated decision when selecting a doctor and cancer care facility to receive optimum care during your cancer treatment plan.