According to statistics, over 9.6 million people died from different types of cancer in 2017, making it the second leading cause of death in the world. Cancer is very difficult to cure because, for one, the disease doesn’t always come with visible symptoms. Late diagnosis can result in more complex and expensive treatments and lesser chances of survival.
Fortunately, things can change if you hire an oncologist early on. This medical professional specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of different forms of cancer using chemotherapy and other medications. An oncologist will create a tailor-made treatment plan based on the detailed pathology of your cancer diagnosis.
If you want to end up hiring the best oncologist for your cancer treatment, visit several clinics, and take the time to ask the following questions first:
- What Is Your Specialty?
There are different types of cancers today. Cancer can grow and develop in your breasts, lungs, skin, and even glands. Each of these cancer types will require very specific diagnosis and treatments – which is why when choosing an oncologist, knowing their specialty should be on top of your to-do list.
The oncologist you’ll engage should have in-depth training and experience in treating the cancer you were diagnosed with. If you were diagnosed with breast cancer, then your chosen oncologist should have years of experience in diagnosing and successfully treating breast cancer. Hiring an oncologist who has a different specialty than your cancer diagnosis is a clear waste of time and money.
- Can You Give References?
As mentioned, battling and surviving cancer isn’t easy. More often than not, you’ll have to work with your oncologist for years to ensure that you’ll have a cancer-free life.
Asking an oncologist for reviews is one of the easiest ways for you to know if they are truly qualified to give you the care and treatment that you need. Once you’ve shortlisted some oncologists, ask for the names and contact numbers of at least three satisfied clients. If they can give you more than three clients, that’s even better. These references can vouch that the oncologist you’re looking to hire is truly doing a good job in the industry.
However, if the oncologist you’re talking to fails to provide you with any references, it might be best if you look for other options. If they can’t provide any testimonials, it might mean that they are still new in the industry or they aren’t doing very well in their professions.
- Do You Offer Flexible Payment Plans?
Aside from the severity of the disease, battling cancer can be very challenging because of the expenses involved in the treatment. Often, you’ll have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars every week for your treatment. The more severe your cancer is, the more money it’ll require from your pocket.
If you want your cancer treatment to be more convenient, always ask the oncologist if they offer payment plans for the type of cancer you have. Regardless of whether it’s covered by cash or insurance, a reputable oncologist will allow you to divide the total cost of your cancer care and treatment into monthly installments. This payment scheme can ward off financial stress, making it easier for you to maximize the results of your cancer treatment plans and recover from the condition fast.
- Can You Set Appointments That Fit My Schedule?
After being diagnosed with cancer, you can expect to undergo regular treatments. Depending on the type and growth of the cancer cells in your body, your treatments can be done once or twice a week for a couple of hours.
To ensure that your cancer treatments will not get in the way of your hectic schedule, always inquire from the oncologist if they can schedule appointments that suit your schedule. It’ll be very challenging for you to show up for all of your appointments if these are scheduled during your workdays. Over time, this will discourage you from regularly seeing your oncologist and completing your treatments.
Ask For Referrals
With the number of oncologists providing medical services today, choosing one can become a challenge. This is especially true if you’re clueless on how and where to start your search.
Aside from posing the questions in this article to the oncologists you’ve shortlisted, asking for a referral from your primary care doctor can also help. Reputable and well-established oncologists will be very easy to recognize in the medical industry, so if your doctor knows one, make sure to include this person in your options.