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Any options on the many breast surgeons out there. I don’t know who is skilled experience and others have found the best for them. Any names ??
Good question again, @elvandi.
There are a number of factors that go into the decision of where to go for surgery and finding a surgeon for breast cancer. This article from the American Cancer Society lists a number of criteria to consider https://www.cancer.org/treatment/finding-and-paying-for-treatment/choosing-your-treatment-team/choosing-a-doctor-and-a-hospital.html It also includes worksheets to help your decision making.
I’m tagging a few members of the breast cancer group. @cindylb @2xnow @wandering @leannz @cautiousoptimism @shenriq @kat9606 @canada @mollymiller @gramamom @djankord1 @deniseestrada It would be interesting to here from others how they chose where to be treated and by whom.
Are you willing and able to travel for cancer care? You may also wish to consider where your support system is. Will someone travel with you? Do you have a major cancer center near you?
I was fortunate enough to live in a city with a world-renowned medical community. Pretty much any issue I would ever have can be dealt with here. When my mammogram showed something suspicious, my ob/gyn recommended a team with a stellar reputation. I was very fortunate to have a strong, competent team of health care professionals. I will say, pick a breast surgeon specialist, not a general surgeon. The specialists have dealt with so many cases – they will know best how to give you the best outcome in terms of your appearance after surgery and how best to treat the cancer and, hopefully, eliminate it from your life forever. Because of the choices i made, I can honestly call myself “lucky” as I’ve gone through the last year and a half since my diagnosis.
Good question Elvandi and a great article. I think I simply got lucky and perhaps didn’t have to face as many of these questions because I had treatment with Kaiser and because it’s a ‘closed group of doctors/HMO style’, I couldn’t really shop around. However, now my employer has changed providers and I’m back to my previous oncologist but now looking to fill in the gaps on my care. I had a Stage 0 diagnosis prior to my bi lateral mastectomy/Stage 1. When I had the initial diagnosis I was referred by Sally Jobe Mammography to an oncologist and surgeon who turned out to be wonderful. The costs were extremely high however and it was a bit more difficult navigating the various aspects (biopsies at one place, surgery at another, follow ups somewhere else). It wasn’t well coordinated and was difficult. With Kaiser they had a system that kept you in their system and lucky for me, good hospitals and a got a great surgeon. I did change oncologists post surgery and found one I liked and trusted. One of the great things Kaiser had were RN’s called, “Breast Coordinators”. Those lovely RN’s were available via phone and helped me through each stage. If you can find a surgical or oncologist who has a program like that, jump on it. I didn’t have to wait to hear from the surgeon, the whole operation and follow up care was seamless and their referrals to various departments and treatments was invaluable. A couple of pieces of advice I can offer – If it doesn’t feel right with your surgeon or their office, it isn’t right for you. You want to feel you can ask as many questions as you like and get support as well. I went online to every available site and checked out my doctors ratings with things like Health Grades, etc. Google the heck out of them until you feel comfortable. I found several women (by chance) that I knew who had breast cancer and we shared information. If you don’t have that network, reach out to Mammography centers for recommendations, to your family doctor, to the local breast cancer organizations and the national organizations. Feeling comfortable is so important to your emotional well being and healing process.
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I chose my BC surgeon based on recommendations from people I knew who were current patients and people in the medical community. I’m very happy with my decision to go with Dr. Linda LIu who is with Honor Health in Scottsdale and the Arizona Cancer Care Center AZCCC
I live in a very rural area about 300 miles from the hospital where I had to go to get my biopsy. I was really fortunate to get excellent Drs. that are associated with Mayo Clinic. I really didn’t have any choice, they just called and told me what Drs. were going to be on my care team. It was very difficult going where I didn’t know any of them, but all turned out well. I would go back to any of them again. We have children that live in the area of the hospital, so we could stay with them during my treatment. Last summer, while I was undergoing treatment, we made 14 trips back and forth in about a 3 month period. My husband had also had a farm accident the month before I was diagnosed so he had several surgeries there between my surgeries and skin grafting. It was quite a summer, to say the least. We came home on weekends to do what needed doing on the farm for the next week ahead. It was a very fun summer 🙂 But I am really thankful for the great care and excellent Drs.
After 3 weeks of being given little information at home and a botched biopsy, I went to Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Within 6 hrs. I knew what I was up against. I had a fantastic team of surgeons and my oncologist whom I had for 18 yrs. was the best physician I have ever had in my life. Unfortunately he retired. I highly recommend one do research before choosing a facility or doctor. Mayo Clinic is 4 hrs. from home but I managed my appts. and drove every three months for follow-up. I don’t think I would be alive today had it not been for the excellent care I received at the clinic. My grandparents and parents went to the clinic starting back in the early days when there was a rooming house and one room clinic. Transportation back then was by train.
Did you have a Lumpectomy one time, or was it necessary to have additional surgery in the same site. Or did you have a Mastectomy as the first and only choice ? How are you doing now, hope it is all very successful for you.
I am not sure this is addressed to me? But, I’m horning in anyway (excuse me if this is a thread of comments with another user)… I have had two lumpectomies. One many, many years ago (benign) and one 4 years ago (diagnosed as stage 0 or ‘maybe you’re going to get cancer). My latest confirmation of possible cancer was 1 1/2 years ago. Because the first two lumpectomies were in my left breast and the new ‘problem’ was detected in my right breast, that’s when I opted for the bi lateral mastectomy, which showed stage 1 cancer. I have lobular cancer which is different than ductal in that it shows up in both breasts (an equal opportunity problem) and doesn’t create lumps as such but more lines of cancer. It’s harder to detect in mammograms and would require on-going MRI’s….so I opted to de-rail the ongoing tests and frankly my nerves. My doctors supported my decision and it turned out to be wise because the pathology of my breast tissue showed multiple areas of developing lobular and ductal cancer. The whole process of finding and starting to treat the breast cancer was a period of about 6 years. I am doing well with my follow ups (no sign of returning cancer). I continue with 6 month follow ups for now (I was on 3 month follow ups). I have requested aggressive follow up including an MRI this Fall and blood tumor marker tests and etc. It’s probably not necessary but I rest better at night. I am also unable to take the aromatase inhibitor drugs without serious side effects so I haven’t been able to reduce my risk for recurrence as much as I’d like. I have stepped up my health care greatly to include attention to diet, exercise, vitamins and supplements (under the care of my doctor) and I hope those things are helping.
Thanks for the follow-up on your situation. You made the right choice in your surgery and the importance of diet, exercise, etc. all necessary to keep the body in good health. We can only try our best and the rest is not in our hands. Blessings runninglakes.
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