You’ve been handed a big challenge called cancer. You need a team of professionals you trust to provide the specialized care required. Where do you start?
Often, your primary care doctor or the doctor who diagnosed your disease will provide a list of oncologists, or perhaps make a single recommendation. Don’t be shy about asking friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family members if they know oncologists in your area. You might also want a second opinion before deciding where to receive your care.
Below are some things to think about when evaluating a doctor and practice along with reasons why you may want to consider choosing a doctor associated with The US Oncology Network.
Evaluating a Doctor and Practice
When selecting an oncologist, consider the following:
• Physician Experience and Reputation
While many doctors treat all kinds of cancer, some specialize in certain types. Finding an oncologist with experience treating patients with your type of cancer can give you added peace of mind.
• Treatment and Service Offerings
Cancer treatment often requires many different services, including diagnostic imaging, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and support services for you and your family. Choosing a practice that offers all of the services you will need can make receiving treatment easier by allowing you to schedule appointments back-to-back and reducing the need to shuffle between multiple locations.
Cancer treatment usually requires many appointments. Selecting a practice near your home or work can enable you to reduce disruption to your daily life.
• Ease of Access
Consider the parking and entry to the practice, especially if you require a wheelchair or walker. Free parking with direct access to the entrance will make getting to your appointments easier.
• Hospital Privileges
If your treatment requires hospitalization, make sure the doctor you select has privileges at your preferred hospital.
• Participation in Clinical Trials
Clinical trials can provide patients with access to therapies that are still in development. Choosing a physician who participates in these studies may offer you additional treatment options.
• Insurance/HMO Coverage
Cancer treatment can be expensive. Verify that the doctor you select participates in your insurance or HMO plan. You can ask the doctor who he or she contracts with or contact your insurance provider for a list of participating doctors in your community.
• Availability and Access
After being diagnosed with cancer, you will want an appointment in a timely manner to discuss your treatment options. When selecting a doctor, find out how soon you can schedule an appointment.
Make sure you feel comfortable with your doctor, as you will want to be able to discuss a wide range of topics during your treatment. It’s important to choose a physician who listens to your concerns and takes time to answer questions.