Importance of Finding a Right Doctor

The reason to look for a new doctor may be various, whatever your reason may be, finding the right doctor who is trustworthy, qualified, respected, and simply a good match for you can be a difficult process. The best doctor for you would be one with good manners, has a natural empathy, and a good performance record. Not all doctors place importance on making their patients feel valued. More importantly, not all doctors follow standards and professional guidelines set forth by the Medical Council of India.

Doctor’s in India after completing MBBS go on to do three years of residency training in Obstetrics & Gynecology and become qualified to practice obstetrics and gynecology. Following which they go through another 3 years of fellowship training in gyne-oncology and are certified as Gynecological Oncologists. 

Cancer in a woman’s reproductive tract requires specialized care. A gynecological oncologist has unique training and expertise in this area. Before you start looking for a doctor, these answers to some common questions should help you.

Q: What is the difference between a gynecologist and a gynecological oncologist?

A: Gynecologic oncologist is a subspecialty within the discipline of obstetrics and gynecology. Gynecological oncologists are trained in diagnosing and treating cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs. This includes cervical, ovarian (including the fallopian tubes and peritoneum or lining of the abdominal cavity), uterine (endometrium or lining of the uterus), vaginal and vulvar cancers. There are also many premalignant conditions leading to gynecologic cancer such as cervical intraepithelial dysplasia (abnormal changes in the cells that appear on the surface of the cervix) that a gynecologic oncologist is trained to diagnose and treat.

 

Due to the vast surgical expertise that gynecological oncologists have they are also better at dealing complex non-cancerous gynecological conditions such as endometriosis, complex fibroid uterus, and adenomyosis.

 

General gynecologists will treat only non-cancerous (benign) conditions as they do not have that extensive training that is required to treat women with cancer.

 

Q. Does being treated by a gynecologic oncologist make a difference in cancer outcomes?

A. With the latest screening technologies that have dramatically improved over the past decades, pre-cancerous conditions and early-stage gynecologic cancers are being diagnosed and treated early, which is a key factor in favorable outcomes. Studies have shown that women treated by a gynecologic oncologist are more likely to have better outcomes, live longer, and with a better quality of life than those treated by non-specialists. This can be attributed, in part, to the comprehensive knowledge and skills developed by a gynecologic oncologist during their training.

A gynecologic oncologist when compared to a general surgical oncologist, also understands the impact of cancer and it's treatment on all aspects of a woman’s life, including future childbearing, sexuality, physical and emotional well-being, and her family.

 

Q: When should I be referred to a gynecologic oncologist?

A: You need to see a gynecologic oncologist if you have been diagnosed with precancer or cancer of the reproductive tract such as

  • Cervical cancer

  • Ovarian cancer

  • Uterine cancer

  • Vaginal cancer

  • Vulvar cancer

  • Primary peritoneal cancer

 

If you have one of these cancers, ask your doctor to refer you to a gynecological oncologist.

 

Q: What should I take with me to my first meeting with a gynecologic oncologist?

A: Like any other doctor's visit, it’s a good idea to come prepared. In the daze you are in with the latest diagnosis of cancer you may not remember the sequence of your symptoms or would tend to forget to ask some questions. So, before coming to your appointment remember to take with you:

  • A note of your symptoms in which you have written down of your symptoms and the sequence in which they have appeared. Write down every symptom that you felt was not normal.

  • Medical records, including pathology and radiology reports.

  • All medications you are taking, importantly if you are on blood-thinning medications.

  • Your past reports or discharge summary of any medical and surgical conditions. 

  • Your family medical history record, ask your parents and relatives if any family members who’ve had cancer.

  • A list of doctors you’re currently seeing.

  • Questions that you would want to ask your gynecologic oncologist.

 

Q: How can I make a decision as to which gynecologic oncologist is right for me?

A: With so many doctors in the city it can be difficult for you to decide who is right for you. Before you make a decision, make some background check about those doctors, see what other patients have to say about them, and talk to your friends and colleagues for an opinion.

Q: Can I go for a second opinion?

A: Yes, you have every right to get another opinion. If you are not comfortable about what treatment has been offered for you do not hesitate to get another opinion.

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