When your test results come back and your physician utters the word "cancer," it can be a devastating and traumatic moment. Choosing an oncologist who helps you explore alternatives treatments will give you a sense of control over this disease at a time when you feel you have none. You may feel that chemo and radiation aren't the only types of treatments that will bring about a remission. Many oncology doctors believe in holistic medicine and they will help you learn about other options available to you, while keeping your overall health in mind.
Getting Emotionally Equipped
Once you get over the initial shock, you may start to gear up for battle and do some research on your own at the library or online. You will likely discover treatments that are outrageous, unbelievable and some that make total sense. An oncology doctor spends many years studying medicine and specializing in the field of oncology. He or she will help you separate reasonable options from those that are too far fetched.
Finding the Right Specialist
Ask your primary care physician to give you a few names of oncologists that he or she respects. Go to their websites; read about them and what types of treatment plans they use in treating their oncology patients. Once you find a doctor that will be supportive, open-minded and that you have a good rapport with, you can start battling this disease. If the first doctor you visit doesn't have your full confidence, feel free to have a consultation with another oncologist. Many insurance companies will pay for a second opinion.
Keeping an Open Mind
If it is important to you to do your own research, remember it is imperative that you keep an open mind when speaking to the specialist. He or she will have many years of experience and is likely to have treated many other patients with your particular type of cancer. The specialist will know what alternative treatments work well with the treatment he or she recommends. For instance, if the cancer you have responds favorably to chemotherapy, the specialist knows what alternatives methods, such as herbal remedies, will negate the positive effects of the chemotherapy and which ones will complement the treatment plan. The specialist will also be able to tell you how much time you can afford to devote to each alternative option before moving on to something else. It is wise to give the specialist the benefit of the doubt. After all he or she has a vast education, informed colleagues and has likely performed many trials and research that provide him with answers. After all, you have been focused on this disease for only a few weeks, but he or she has spent years studying the best ways to stop the cancer and send it into remission.
Some cancers are quite aggressive and others are slow growing. If you and the specialist respect each other and listen attentively with open minds, you are much more likely to win this war over this disease.