Picking an oncologist

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    Faye….agree with the others and would like to add:

    The diagnoses should be confirmed by a Tumor Board consisting of an oncologist, surgeon, radiologist, pathologist and perhaps as gastroenterologist. These type of specialist you will find in
    larger medical institutions and definitely in a cancer research hospitals.

    However; even if the surgeon on this tumor board concludes that a resection is not possible, you would want to search out a surgeon with extensive background in biliary surgery. Remember, specialists disagree with their individual approaches.

    Try to become as educated as possible about this disease. Ask how many patients the oncologist has treated. Is he/she up to date on the most current research and believe in clinical trials, DNA (genomic testing) and open to discuss all options with you.

    Also, there are radiation oncologist. Intrahepatic patients have benefitted from various radiation treatments. European guidelines recommend consideration of Radioembolization (Y90) Radioembolization is a minimally invasive procedure that combines embolization and radiation therapy to treat liver cancer. This worked extremely well for Catherine’s mom.

    Often times you can consult with a major cancer center, but receive treatments from your local physician.

    Cancer.net has provides a great overview of how to interact with your healthcare team.

    Good luck and please keep us posted.



    Fay, it is very simple actually, you only want an ONC who has had quite a bit of experience with CC since it is a rare Cancer. You will know right away if he fits you and your Mom with the comfort level you get from him. You have enough going on without making your head swim too. I am putting out a note also to our members in Seattle and lets see if some suggestions come rolling in. Hello, Seattle, what say you?


    Hello Fay,
    Usually once you have selected an oncologist, they have a team including the radiation specialist. The key is to interview a few oncologists. Ask questions and compare responses. Who seems arrogant or pushy and who do you feel at ease or more comfortable. It’s best to think about the qualities you are looking for in a doctor. I went to three before deciding on which one to be our oncologist. One was a smart *** and only had 1 option that we must start right away (too pushy), just to give an example.

    I would say ease at having a discussion with them and even if you disagree, they understand your decision. They should work with you, no matter what treatment you choose. They have to be patient and open to suggestions. They also have different treatment protocols. Ask yourself what do you want? Do your research and have questions prepared.


    Dear CC Family,

    How do you determine if an oncologist is the right fit? What characteristics should we be looking for? Also, should we be looking for a radiation oncologist in addition to a medical oncologist?

    Thank you everyone,

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