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When do you know it's time to change MO

tangandchris Member Posts: 934

Hi everyone

I am still new at MBC, just found out in October.

I went for a 2nd opinion shortly after diagnosis. Her treatment was fairly consistent with my current MO, so I chose to stay with my current dr.

Here's the deal, I keep having this nagging gut feeling I need to change. I have never felt a strong connection with MO, but it didnt seem as important until now. He's a good dr, but have felt like a number at times. My treatment was delayed because he was out of the office. He's out alot.

So I'm wondering if I'm being nitpicky or should I switch. I dont know how complicated this process would be. How many have changed? What is your relationship with your MO like?


  • OnTarget
    OnTarget Member Posts: 124

    Your doctor is in this for the long haul, so you should like and trust them in my opinion.

    I didn't like my MO at first because she wasn't assertive enough and I didn't trust her. I did come to like her and see the quiet assertiveness she had. She's left the practice so I have to go to a different MO and it is sad to have to start all over since I liked mine.

    My MO was diligent and would not leave me hanging. I feel that she went out of her way to be prompt and helpful.

    If I don't like the new one, I'm switching!

  • olma61
    olma61 Member Posts: 1,026

    I switched cancer centers last year, mostly to be closer to home in the age of COVID.

    I called the new center to inquire about the process, they took my history and said they would do everything if and when I was ready to switch. I thought about it for a few days, then I called back, made an appointment for a consult, emailed a record release so they could get my records and that was it. Very simple, I had zero leg work to do.

    I really liked my old MO, the new one is very good also...but the new place is much less crowded and much easier to get back and forth on my treatment days. I have only had women doctors and I do prefer that.

    Both are very smart and up on the latest research and trials, et

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,178

    I’m on my 4th MO. The 1 I liked, but didn’t love. My insurance kicked his very large practice out of network or I’d probably still be with him. The 2 was flat out awful. 3 retired. 4 has taken a while, but I do like him. Depends how you feel when you visit. Does s/he listen? Discuss? Suggest? Nothing wrong with firing a doc. You need to be comfortable with them.

  • tinkerbell107
    tinkerbell107 Member Posts: 289

    In an ideal world, an MO would have competency and personality. Unfortunately it may be hard to find both qualities. I would choose competency any day.. In my situation my MO lacks both qualities. The reason I stay its mainly convenient, 10 minutes from my home. When progression occurs I will need to go elsewhere. Already have a few places in mind. I met my second opinion MO at a larger institution. She had both qualities, competent and personality. Just a 3 hour drive. So I’m sure there are benefits and drawbacks in a lot of situations.

  • candy-678
    candy-678 Member Posts: 4,144

    I am on MO #3. My first MO was wonderful. Smart. Good bedside manner. Loved him. But... he moved from our small town to a larger city on the West Coast. We always lose the good ones to the bigger cities. I am in a rural area in the Midwest.

    #2 was the one that took over for #1 so I didn't need to do anything, my records just automatically transferred--same office. Nice doctor. Smart. Quiet. We got along well, I thought. Then I questioned her treatment plan. I said that I read and research and had some other suggestions for my care. She said I needed to stop reading and do as she says. Sirens, red flags.

    On to #3. This time I went outside my rural area and now travel 2 hours one way to a larger cancer center. They have access to clinical trials (if I want to do that someday) and they are a NCI cancer center. The transfer was easy. They got my records from the previous MO and set up the appointment for a consult. I could discuss things with the doctor and decide if I wanted to continue care there. This MO is smart-- Associate Professor on her name badge. Been with the cancer center for a few years. I told her that I read and research and would that be a problem. She said she wants her patients to be active in their treatment. She turns the computer around to show me the scan images, not that I know how to read a CT or MRI. But I appreciate that she includes me that way. She lets me ask questions, which I do, a lot. But she is not the warm fuzzy kind. All business.

    But you have to chose, I think. Warm and fuzzy. Or competent. Local and convenient. Or travel to a larger cancer center. Wish we could have it all, and 10 minutes from our homes.

  • aprilgirl1
    aprilgirl1 Member Posts: 787

    I think you need to follow your gut instincts on this. The fact that you had treatment delayed due to the oncologist not being in town would be an issue for me, especially if it seems like they travel often and don't have an oncologist to cover patients in their absence. Obviously, we all need to have time off from work but my cancer center has a clear policy that if I have a petscan and onc is out of town, another oncologist will meet with me and review. I don't need to wait for my onc to return to get results interpreted by an oncologist. It's great that you already have another onc you know to switch to. I would probably call and make sure that oncologist is accepting new patients before you offically break it off with current oncologist. This is a big relationship in our lives! Cancer 24/7

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 5,048

    At stage IV, you're in a long term relationship with your mo. Unless you live in a place where your choices are limited please find an mo that you are completely comfortable with. You are the consumer and you call the shots!

  • snow-drop
    snow-drop Member Posts: 526

    Tang, I second all posts above. You need an MO that respect you, your thoughts and your feelings. My first MO was a bad doctor, the way he informed me I am stage IV was so awful “you have to understand you are stage 4 and it is not curable”, I burst to cry his comment “she needs a social worker” and he left the exam room. Basically he looked at me as a number or a case, never discussed any reports with me, many of my questions remained unanswered, most of the time he discouraged me by some cheap comments like” why you want to know “. He started my treatment more than 2 months after I diagnosed, first he forced me to a chemotherapy treatment at a time of diagnosis, soon I understood it was phase one clinical trial and definitely not fit for stage IV, it was so sad he wasn’t honest with me hiding the truth, who would be better than a broken-scared-zero confidence-newly diagnosis- to be his guinea pig than me?! I refused and requested a standard treatment, well he went vacation for 2 weeks and left me high and dry without any plans, orders etc. I didn’t know that my refusal to his trial bruised his ego until recently, when he again put me in another study without bothering to let me know, changed one of my injections, and put me in every 2 months pet scan. He also lied a lot to my insurance company and the clinic, my monthly visit with him taking no more than 5 minutes (at the most), guess what he reported 45 minutes and funny comments in all visit summary “he answered all my questions”. I can’t stand with a lier so switch to a female MO, I feel much secure in her hand. She is also a researcher, I have this worry that she may want to try some study on me but for now I feel good to be under her care and her nurse is also nice. I have to admit, since I changed my MO I can sleep much better, less stress I would say. Sorry for a long post

    I inspired by Candy (and thankful for her support) when she shared her story why she decided to change her MO.

    You are your own advocate, so if you feel something is off don’t hesitate to take action, the sooner the better. Good luck 🍀.

  • tangandchris
    tangandchris Member Posts: 934

    Thanks everyone for your advice and encouragement. I have a call in time the new MO, so I'm hoping to get things going soon. The new MO is out of UTSW, a prestigious cancer center so it almost seems like a no brainer.