Monday, January 25, 2010

Its all about who you know - AGAIN!

I was reading yesterday (while on the treadmill at the gym so I get lots of extra points for multi tasking) an article in Newsweek from last fall about cancer treatment. Apparently where you get treated has a big part in survival rates. If you go to a specialized cancer center your survival rates are probably better than if you are treated at a community hospital. And most of it seems to come down to the question of how many cases like yours has your doctor seen?

Apparently if you have a garden variety cancer like breast cancer with a canned treatment approach, you will probably be fine at a community hospital. But if you have an obscure sarcoma, run, don't walk to a big name cancer center. Makes sense. I think doctors do try to do their best and if they see hundreds of cancer cases a year they probably are very comfortable treating and know exactly what to look at to get the best treatment protocol. If you have a doctor who hasn't seen a sarcoma like yours since medical school, get a second opinion asap. I am sure this doctor has been treating lots of other people quite successfully for lots of other ailments but nobody can be an expert at everything.

So this leads me to think. Am I being treated at a community hospital or a cancer center? I go to a suburban hospital which is convenient to my home. I don't consider it a big cancer center but it is a relatively large hospital with decent ratings and is expanding and its 6 miles from home. All my doctors and medical records are there. Apparently my breast cancer and thyroid cancer were garden variety enough so I don't necessarily need specialized diagnosis and treatment. And, most importantly, its in my comfort zone so I'm staying there.

Its a good thing its so damn convenient because I have to go there twice today - this morning for a follow up with my radiation oncologist and then again at the end of the day for an MRI of my pesky ankle. The one thing they do need is a frequent patient perks plan - discounted parking, free bottled water, etc. - would be nice.

1 comment:

BaldyLocks said...

That's a little bone chilling to hear that. It makes a lot of sense, though. That's why I'm so glad I was treated at a highly specialized department in the best hospital in Western Canada. But I guess that's why they threw me onto the helicopter and sent me there.

I'm very grateful!