Increased Communication Among Oncologists, Patients, and PCPs: Provides Best Practices for Breast Cancer Treatments

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Photo by Carol Duff

Health Editor’s Note:  A diagnosis of breast cancer is usually preceded by a suspicious area on a mammogram, then perhaps an ultrasound, and then a biopsy. At a breast care facility that is well versed and prepared to deal with getting a  woman on track for best treatment of breast cancer, this will probably involve immediate ultrasound and then ultrasound with biopsy done as soon as the patient requests. The biopsy can be done before leaving the ultrasound room in the radiology department, immediately after the positive reading of the mammogran.  No more going home and waiting for your “doctor” to receive the results of your mammogram.  The doctor (often a gynecologist or maybe your primary healthcare provider) who ordered the mammogram for a suspicious area or for a yearly screening,  will receive the biopsy results and get you immediately scheduled with a breast surgeon who will determine type of surgery required and after evaluation of the removed tumor tissue and most probably lymph nodes associated with that area of the breast, will then recommend an oncologist that he or she has the most confidence in. If the particular treatment for your particular type of breast cancer requires radiation, you will also be set up with an oncology radiologist. No patient question will be too small to be asked. 

The most important aspect of moving forward in removing/treating breast cancer is a seamless route for the patient, a road where everyone involved is on board with what comes next and above all on top of how the patient is doing at any given time.  There is an intense necessity for all of the doctors involved in a woman’s healthcare to combat breast cancer (or any type of cancer) to communicate to provide the top notch care she should and will receive and to help her to avoid the dread of being diagnosed with cancer and the feeling of being out of control of her own body…..Carol 

Primary Care Docs Ambivalent About Cancer Decisions

Lack of comfort, knowledge, confidence about patient discussions

by Charles Bankhead, Senior Associate Editor, MedPage Today

A survey of primary care physicians (PCPs) showed that as many as a third reported involvement in patients’ breast cancer treatment decisions, but many of them were uncomfortable with the discussions or lacked knowledge or confidence.

PCPs most often discussed surgery with patients (34%), followed by radiation therapy (23%), and chemotherapy (22%). Among the clinicians who were involved in discussions about treatment, as many as 25% said they were uncomfortable with the discussions. About 10-20% said they lacked knowledge or confidence in their ability to contribute, as reported online in Cancer.


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