Cancer Doubts .com
  Information for patients researching their options

Learn about cancer and
Talk to your doctor with confidence

  Cancer information  

 
         
 Contents
01 What is cancer?
02 Cancer symptoms and screening (how cancer is detected)
03 Causes of cancer
04 Can cancer be prevented?
05 Cancer Stages
(how long do patients live?)
06 Cancer treatment and therapy (how cancer is treated)
07 Types of doctors who treat cancer
08 Choosing a doctor (or getting a second opinion)
09 Preparing for Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy
10 Cancer support (patient psychology and feelings)
11 Cancer suport - How friends can help
12 Is it important to do my own research? (or do I just follow doctor's orders)
13 Cancer information (research your treatment options)
14 Alternative and complementary treatments for cancer
15 Avoiding dubious treatments
16 How medical research is done (how to read medical research papers)
A About this site
 

Choosing a doctor (or getting a second opinion)

One of the most important considerations in choosing a doctor is to find someone who is competent. Cancer research is also advancing at a rapid pace, and new drugs are being released every year. So it is also important to choose a doctor who is up to date on the latest developments. For example, Stage 4 colon cancer was considered untreatable just 5 years ago, and patients were given just 6 months to live. But new medicines today allow some Stage 4 patients to achieve tumor regression and live comfortably for longer periods of time.

Needless to say, finding a doctor with good ethics is paramount. The nature of cancer makes patients psychologically vulnerable and prone to an air of desperation. An unscrupulous doctor could exploit this and prescribe medications which are unnecessarily aggressive or costly.

Apart from this, it is also important to choose a doctor that the patient trusts and is comfortable with. Cancer is a frightening disease and treatment can be prolonged and arduous. It is important that the patient has full confidence in the doctor throughout the process. Once you begin a course of cancer treatment, it is important to go through with it and the last thing you want is for the patient to be plagued with doubts about what the doctor is doing. Changing treatments in midstream can cause more problems than it solves.

 

Before starting any cancer treatment, patients may also like to get a second opinion. This can be useful because:

(1) Cancer diagnosis and treatment is not an exact science. Different doctors may have different viewpoints and approaches to treating the cancer.

(2) It has also been my observation that cancer doctors tend to prefer treatments within their own specialty. A surgeon tends to favor cutting out tumors wherever they occur, whereas clinical oncologists tend to prefer using chemotherapy to treat tumors. There may be no overall consensus on the best course of action to take. This observation has also been made by former Intel CEO Andy Grove who was a prostate cancer patient (read about his experience here).

Choosing between different approaches can be difficult because you may need to examine the research and clinical data that supports each approach. For example, in Stage 4 colon cancer which has spread to the liver only, some clinical statistics suggest that the best thing to do is to use chemotherapy only. Yet other clinical statistics suggest that under certain conditions, surgically removing the metastasized tumors in the liver can improve the odds of survival. There is no unified study comparing both approaches, so it can be difficult to draw a firm conclusion. To get these statistics, you may need to examine research papers from both surgery journals and oncology journals. All options also have to be weighted against the pain that each option causes the patient relative to the benefits that it can bring.

You might like to discuss this with a doctor you trust (it could be your family doctor) to help you weigh the options. You could also discuss a surgical option with an oncologist, and vice versa, just to get a clear sense of the pros and cons of each approach. I suggest being tactful though; doctors are human like the rest of us, and may not like being subject to a cross-examination.

 

 


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Medical information for cancer I am not a medical professional; please consult your doctor for a medical opinion. This is my attempt to explain cancer to anyone who is affected by it. If this site helps just one person, then it will have served its purpose.

 

 
 Cancer Links
Prominent research and treatment centers
Stanford Cancer Center
Memorial Sloan Kettering
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Kimmel Center at Johns Hopkins
Dana-Farber/Harvard
Mayo Clinic
 
Information on Drugs
Drugs at FDA
NCI Drug Info
 
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Information
Sloan Kettering
(Integrative Medicine Service)
Medline Plus
American Cancer Society
PDR (Herbals and Supplements)
 
Complementary Medicine and Supplement Suppliers
Cuesta Agaricus Mushrooms
Agaricus Farm Mushrooms
Mitobi Mushrooms
Freshes Mushrooms [Bulk]
AllStarHealth [Maitake D-Fraction]
Maitake Products [D-Fraction]
LifeStream [BRM 360 capsules]
Himalaya Herbals [Ashwagandha]
Vita Green [Yun Zhi extract]
 
Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials (NIH)
 
Research Papers
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Google Scholar
 
New Drug Approvals / Drugs in the pipeline
FDA approvals
 
Helpful Books and Sites
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy survival guide
Cancer Guide.org
The biology of cancer
 
Patient Stories
Andrew Grove
Steve Dunn

 


 

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Site Copyright © 2008 Wei-lung Wang. Top banner images from the Wikimedia Commons, and used under the terms of the GNU General Public License.