Once a diagnosis is confirmed, the person you care about should be referred to an oncologist (doctor specializing in cancer treatment) in your area. It is a good idea for you and your loved one to do some research as to where he or she wants to be treated and by whom. It may help to call people you know and seek advice about oncologists in your area.
Overall, it is critical that an oncologist evaluates your loved one. If it is possible, try to use a cancer center that has specific expertise and state-of-the-art care for the type of cancer your loved one has. The following are resources to help you find a cancer specialist in your area:
- The National Cancer Institute (1-800-4-CANCER) offers information about the nearest comprehensive cancer center(s).
- Cancer.net provided by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, offers resources to find oncologists in your area.
- A primary doctor or a nurse you trust, with help from your insurance company, will often be glad to offer you a referral.
You and your loved one may have a lot of questions for a cancer specialist, and you should ask them all! It may help to write them down before going to the appointment, so you don’t forget any questions while you are at the appointment.
Don't Forget ...
The person with cancer is in charge. Many people with cancer prefer to do the majority of talking at appointments to maintain a sense of control. Be careful not to create a situation where your loved one feels that you are taking control away from him or her by asking all of the questions, or that he or she feels left out of the conversation or talked about as though he or she isn’t in the room. It may be helpful to talk in advance about how your loved one wants to interact with the health care team.