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To Cancer Professionals: Know What It’s Really Like

I really wish people working with cancer patients will read this note. I may stop some or all treatments soon…

Oblivious doctors

No one can know what it is like to get that 10PM call saying you have an advanced cancer (Stage 4A), and that it is so rare no one on your medical team has ever seen a case. Even though you had digital exams for 18 years and PSA tests for eight. When you are told you need surgery ASAP then told you have to wait 10 weeks for an opening. What it is like when a doctor looks up VERY BASIC information on her iPhone during your first meeting and says, “Oh, I should have known that.” What it is like when you have to provide literature articles on this rare cancer to your doctors to help guide your treatments and then beg them to look at it. When they use that information to change your treatment plan and you wonder why your life depends on you doing these searches.

Bad to worse

When your CT scan report leaves out the words “No” and “Not”, which then indicated that the treatments did not work and you go from being just screwed to really screwed, then to find out you are just screwed after all when they find their mistake. Of course they charge you $60 dollars to correct their error in the report. Or when the hospital does a scan that they checked with the insurance company before hand for coverage then find out that they forgot to call them for prior approval and you are responsible for a $11,500 bill. When you are stuck with this hospital due to insurance coverage. Unfortunately this list goes on…

Having advanced cancer is bad enough.

The actions of the hospital can make it so much worse. Cancer patients have enough to deal with without fighting the “establishment.” I am considering saying “enough!” and end all treatments.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Tnewman
    1 year ago

    I am very sorry for you Dr. Who. I will disagree with anyone that says the United States has the best healthcare in the world. It is so hard when you put trust in doctors and they fail you. I wish you the best and some hope that you will find something that will help you.

  • Richard Faust moderator
    1 year ago

    Thanks for writing Dr_Who. First, let me echo Nina’s comments about the jaw dropping nature of your situation. Second, let me say that every patient is entitled to a second opinion. In fact, in many cancer situations insurance actually requires it. This article from our editorial team looks at getting second opinions: Hoping you get some answers and quality care. Best, Richard ( Team)

  • ninaw moderator
    1 year ago

    First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to compose this story, @dr_who. Your message and writing are extremely powerful. Second, I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through. It is completely unjust to have been treated this way. While patients can and should be an active member in their care, having to correct doctor’s mistakes should never be a requirement. We’re thinking of you and hoping you are able to make a careful choice about next steps when it comes to treatment. Thinking of your family as well. Thank you again for these thoughts. – Nina, Team

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