According to WHO, cancer caused more than 10 million deaths worldwide. Being diagnosed with this condition seems scary because many perceive it to be a death sentence. However, it isn’t always like that. Early detection and speaking to a specialist can make a big difference in the probability of surviving.
If you suspect you have cancer after some initial tests, it is best to book an appointment with a specialist ASAP! It will help you better understand your condition and begin treatment. The first appointment with an oncologist, too, can be a stressful ordeal. So, to make things easier, we’ve listed a few tips that may help you out. Continue reading below.
Be prepared for an extended visit
A typical first visit to a cancer specialist can extend beyond the average time most doctor visits take. Naturally, there is a lot you and your doctor need to discuss. Your oncologist will need this time to review your medical records and discuss the results of any tests that have been conducted. The doctor may also decide whether other tests or procedures are necessary to determine your cancer type, location, and cause.
Be sure to ask questions
Some people feel intimidated when asking questions at their first visit with a doctor. However, it is essential that you feel comfortable asking questions or getting clarification. Running tests and getting a diagnosis can be nerve-wracking. Hence you must prepare a list and have all your questions answered during your first visit to avoid confusion in the future.
For instance, if you suspect you are at risk of mesothelioma, getting the correct diagnosis is crucial to enhance the remaining quality of life. So, ask your cancer specialist what alterations will you have to make in your lifestyle. Also, be sure to ask about treatment and funding options. Some cancer types entitle you to compensation from a previous employer.
What to bring with you
When you arrive for your first visit, be sure to get all of your medical records, imaging and test results with you. If you are getting a biopsy, it is essential to bring written information about any allergies. Your doctor may also ask you to complete your personal and family medical history forms. Having all this information on electronic health records will make it easier for your doctor to review your case before the appointment.
Wear comfortable clothing
It is essential to wear clothing that is easy to move in during the visit. Comfy clothing makes it easier for your doctor to examine your body if need be. You should also be aware that depending on the type of cancer you have been diagnosed with, you may need to bring a change of clothing with you to the appointment. For example, if you are getting a PET scan or CT scan, you may have to remove your clothes for these procedures. It is essential to have something else to wear when you are getting dressed again.
Book the right doctor
When you call to book your first appointment with a cancer specialist, be sure that you ask about their credentials. The best cancer specialists are board-certified in medical oncology or related specialties. They should be members of the National Cancer Institute’s National Clinical Trials Network, the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer, or the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer. Also, suppose you have a specific type of cancer. In that case, you may want to book an appointment with a specialist known for treating similar patients. It will improve the chances of recovery.
Bring a friend or family member
It might be helpful to bring someone with you during your first visit to the oncologist. It is not uncommon for cancer patients to experience shock or denial. Having someone with you can help provide extra support during the meeting. You may also find it comforting to have someone else there as you speak with your doctor about the details of your condition and treatment options. If you are too shocked to s=communicate, the person accompanying you can talk on your behalf and ensure you don’t miss out on crucial information.
It is essential to remember that most people with cancer can live long and healthy lives after being diagnosed. Remain optimistic about your treatment plans and future, which will help you stay more positive and less stressed.
Don’t hesitate to get a second opinion
It is entirely okay to get a second opinion from another specialist, even though you have already met with one. Getting a second opinion helps if you are unsatisfied with the current opinion, do not trust the doctor, or want to evaluate more explore possibilities.
Don’t feel like you’re getting the run-around
If you feel like your doctor is getting impatient with you, don’t hesitate to speak up. You should not feel like your questions are getting dismissed or that you are getting treated like just another patient. Sometimes it is helpful to schedule an extra appointment to avoid rushing through the first. Be sure to take some notes during your visit to prepare for the next time you meet with your doctor.
Being diagnosed with cancer can be stressful. But seeing a specialist at the right time can help you jump ahead and plan better treatment. This article mentions some valuable tips for you to consider when meeting with your cancer specialist for the first time. Always be sure to bring the necessary information with you so that your doctor can help you better. It is essential to remember a cancer diagnosis does not mean a death sentence. Getting an appointment with the best doctor should help you feel more comfortable. But if you are ready, you will increase the chances of improving the quality of your remaining life.