Choosing an Oncologist in the Philippines - Part 1

Okay, so a cancer has been diagnosed.  Just when you need your wits about you 100%, you're in a daze.  You're told to see a "cancer expert”. Not feeling ready?  Doubting the diagnosis?  Do it anyway, but make sure that the "expert" is a bona fide oncologist.

When to see the specialist/s?  ASAP.  Before anything else, know what it is that must be done.  Many times, you’ve got just one chance to do it right.

But which specialist/s?  If you have insurance, your choices may be limited to specific physicians.  A few professional societies are working on this one (on the premise that patients should have the right to choose from its accredited membership).  Great idea to have corporate considerations out of the way–

If the hospital is specified by your health coverage, that’s another issue.  Does the hospital have the necessary expertise and facilities available?  Sub-specialty physicians tend to stay close or within institutions that can enable them.  Some illustrative examples:
  • Would your general surgeon be familiar with sentinel lymph node mapping? 
  • What would a laparoscopic surgeon do without a laparoscope? 
  • Even if the newer IMRT (intensity modulated radiation therapy) is ideal for head & neck cancer applications, its available only in a handful of centers. 
  • Continuous infusion chemotherapy would be given on an in-patient basis if there are no ambulatory pumps.
Next:  Which type/s of oncologist/s do you need?  

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