Accurate diagnosis and timely treatment requires a medical team
WHY YOU NEED A TEAM: (108, 109)
- Spotting a sign or symptom does not mean you have cancer. It does require an evaluation by a medical professional to diagnose the potential issues and if necessary recommended proper treatment.
- A medical team, based on family history, race/ethnicity, and your current health, can help you to develop a monitoring and testing plan for your long term wellness.
- It is important to chart your existing medical baseline to have an accurate understanding of your current health status based on personal and family history. The medical team will maintain your baseline in their records. We have provided a baseline form for you to complete and use as a reference to monitor your body.
- It is easier to select a medical team when there is NO crisis. This gives you time to research for providers you trust, have confidence in, and with whom you have established a rapport.
- When you are sick or need immediate medical attention, you want to be comfortable seeing someone you know and trust and, even more importantly, someone who knows YOU and your medical history.
- It is easier to obtain a timely appointment or referral if you are a regular patient.
- You need the ability to schedule regular doctor visits, routine testing and imaging that can help catch small problems before they become serious.
Diagnosis involves a complex and dynamic involvement of patient, family, doctors, clinicians, and other healthcare professionals. Ensure you get a definitive diagnosis within a few weeks or seek a second opinion.
Your Help in the Diagnosis Process(118, 119, 120, 121)
For your visit with the medical providers.
- Write down and bring to appointment details to the following questions for each specific symptom you noticed. Type of symptom, when first noticed, how frequently does it occur, how long does it last, does anything aggravate it, does anything alleviate it, does it change after eating or sleeping, exact weight changes noticed, temperature variation, size or shape of mole or lump changes.
- Do not conclude your diagnosis based on internet searches. Describe your symptoms and let your medical professional team consider all possibilities in determining a diagnosis.
- Be truthful and detailed with your answers.
- Bring completed medical history chart.
- List all medications by name, dosage, and frequency.
- Bring completed family cancer history chart.
- If your doctor makes a diagnosis, ask what changes or improvements to expect and when. Are there any “red flags” you should look for.
- Questions, questions questions. If there was no conclusive diagnosis, ask doctor point blank, what he needs in order to reach a definitive diagnosis? What he thinks it could be? Are there other procedures, screenings, or tests that would help make the diagnosis? When to schedule the next appointment and what information to bring to help make the diagnosis. Are there any specialists to be seen?
- Do not stay in an undiagnosed condition for long. Request applicable lab tests, screenings, and imaging be done. Get a second opinion.
Getting A Second OpinionYou should always take an active part in your healthcare and getting a second opinion is an important part of that process.
- Your doctor dismisses your symptoms or tells you “it is all in your head”
- If you have been undiagnosed for reasonable time (few Weeks).
- If a doctor rejects your request to conduct blood tests, screenings, or imaging to dig into your symptoms.
- If you have undergone treatment but your symptoms continue.
- Just to make you comfortable with the diagnosis and suggested treatment.
- For the second opinion appointment bring copies of any previous tests such as blood work imaging, biopsy, and list of medications. List physical changes like weight and temperature variations. Bring items 1,4,5,6 from the above list.
Typical Medical Team
It is suggested that you select your primary doctor and discuss recommendations for other team members, a hospital, and testing centers. Here’s what a typical medical team might look like:
- Primary doctor
- Supplementary Cancer Specialists suggested by your Primary Doctor
How To Find A Primary Doctor (110)
- Check with your insurance carrier to see if you have to choose a primary caregiver from a specific network based on your policy.
- Ask friends and family for recommendations.
- Ask your local pharmacy, medical emergency center, or hospital.
- Search online.- Check reviews
- If moving, get a referral from current Physician.