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Newly Diagnosed/Timing/Doctors

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tigglewinkle
tigglewinkle Member Posts: 17

I was diagnosed with IDC yesterday. Not a surprise since the radiologist told me it looked like cancer before the biopsy, but the good news is that it is small. I booked an appointment with someone on my list who had an opening. The most recommended surgeons appear to be unavailable for months, or at least 1.5 months. The question is: do I wait for the "best" or do I try to get the surgery done as soon as I can? I know it's not an emergency, but…Is there lag time between the consultation and the surgery? I plan to be gone in mid June for two weeks, so anxious to set up now and not wait. But maybe waiting till July is ok? Diagnostic mammogram was early April. Screening was in March. MRI scheduled in 4 days.

I also am confused about how important the hospital center is. I would love to have a "nurse navigator" or someone to help me figure out next steps, but first I need to pick a surgeon. From what I can tell it seems typical that you would remain in the hospital associated with your choice of surgeon for treatment. If the surgery is only one small part of the treatment, should I place more emphasis on the hospital/breast center? I'll feel better when things are set up but I don't want to rush into the wrong choice. Thank you. (And thanks to the wonderful advice already received from this site)

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  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 942
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    Hi @tigglewinkle , I’m sorry about your diagnosis. It is generally recommended to have surgery within six to eight weeks so you could set something up for the end of June or first week in July when you return from your trip. There are no strict rules but I found it easier to have everything done at the same center where a team approach was used and the SO, RO and MO collaborated with each other. I travelled to a well known hospital because my local rural hospital has only general surgeons and one oncologist for all types of cancer. While I didn’t think I needed super doctors since I was early stage there were a few twists along the way which made me glad that I was at a facility where I could be immediately referred to an expert in another specialty. Some people do fine using doctors from different hospitals but I preferred the team approach.

  • tigglewinkle
    tigglewinkle Member Posts: 17
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    Thank you for responding. I would prefer a team approach as well, but some hospitals are better that others. I'm in a major metro area and am lucky there are top hospitals in my region, including one of the best in the country, but their surgeons are booked and I just don't like the idea of going months from diagnosis before even meeting with someone to make a plan. I do have an appointment next week with someone in a hospital affiliated with that aforementioned hospital, who I'm sure is fine, though she sure seems young! She's also not on my list of recommended surgeons, but appears to work with one who is, so maybe that's enough. I know sometimes people book more than one appointment for a second opinion, but not sure my insurance will pay for that. So overwhelming.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 942
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    I agree that waiting too long to meet with a “highly recommended” surgeon is probably unnecessary unless you are planning to have complex reconstruction. I was randomly assigned to a “highly recommended” surgeon when I chose my treatment hospital. My well known MO moved across the country in January and even though his replacement is young and beginning her career she is excellent. She was a resident at that hospital and completed a fellowship at another well known cancer center. I figured she would not have been hired if she wasn’t good and she consults with her more experienced colleagues. If the young surgeon has advanced training in breast surgery and works with a “highly recommended” surgeon she might be fine. Sometimes the newer doctors have learned the latest techniques that those who have been working for a while haven’t. I wouldn’t be shy about mentioning your concern about her experience. See what she has to say and decide if you are comfortable with it. Call your insurance company to see if they’ll pay for a second opinion; most do. That allows you to have a choice. Good luck!

  • tigglewinkle
    tigglewinkle Member Posts: 17
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    Excellent advice. Thank you very much.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,945
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    I live in a good-sized city with several hospitals in the metropolitan area. I had my regular mammogram at the breast center at one of the smaller hospitals (which is affiliated with one of the very large ones). After the tumor was found, I was automatically scheduled for an ultrasound and possible biopsy within a week or so. Due to findings on the u/s, I had the biopsy right then and there. They scheduled me for an appointment with a breast surgeon who is in the same maze of rooms in that breast clinic, and she performed the surgery in the hospital right next door. The oncologist is in a different building in that complex, and the radiologist is in the hospital building. After the mammogram, I did not have to make any appointments on my own; the clinic handled all the scheduling. It made everything so easy, and it was comforting to know that many people before me had been through this to the point that it all ran incredibly smoothly. I highly recommend hospital breast clinics if you have that option.

  • tigglewinkle
    tigglewinkle Member Posts: 17
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    Thank you. I always get my mammograms done at a large radiation center that has offices all over town. (I’m in the DC region) They are the ones who discovered the tumor and did the biopsy. But they are not a part of a hospital. I think after my appointment next week, I will feel better being embedded in a hospital for precisely the reasons you mention.