Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Getting to Specialists

A blogger at heart, I am writing as my husband and I wait for my initial visit with Sunita Nasta, MD, who will be instrumental in determining protocols after collating a plethora of data. As an educator in a Professional Learning Community at our high school, I have learned the value of collecting data, and the importance of relevant data and its interpretation as it applies to students. More recently, I have employed data-driven decisions in managing my health care options.

Here's what we have learned. For each level of your journey, beginning when you may suspect, like me, you have cancer, you need to think specialist, not a general MD, or a general oncologist. The generalists may be starting people with whom you consult, but they should guide you to a specialist. The example I was given was simple. An oncologist may see 20 patients a day, but s/he will see all forms of cancers, whereas an oncology specialist may see 20 patients a day, but only in that specialty. So, getting to a specialist quickly is important.

Throughout the United States, patients come to the University of Pennsylvania Health System for diagnosis, treatment, and maintenance. The best decision I made was selecting Penn over other well-known cancer centers, including Fox-Chase, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Jefferson Kimmel Cancer Center, Memorial Sloane-Kettering, and MD Anderson. What drove my decision was knowing that the best specialists in my area of cancer researched, practiced, treated, and celebrated beating back cancer. That is, after all, the goal.
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