Unless you know of a breast surgeon, you will have to get referrals from sources that you can trust. A great place to start is with your family doctor or gynaecologist. Just keep in mind that, although its great to have trust in your doctor when it comes to a referral, you should still do your homework.
Doctors often refer other doctors they know professionally and are usually affiliated with the same hospital where they have medical privileges. Ask your doctor for referrals to a few doctors affiliated with a cancer treatment centre or a major hospital with a track record of treating numbers of breast cancer cases.
Do Some Research
Once you have those names, get on the Internet, go to the treatment centre or hospital the doctors are affiliated with and review their credentials, including:
- Is he or she a general surgeon who does breast cancer surgery, or is he or she a surgeon who specialises in breast cancer surgery, or has done a residency in breast cancer at a hospital that specialises in cancer treatment?
- Is he or she Board-Certified in his or her speciality?
- Does he or she accept your insurance coverage?
A surgeon’s website can tell you a great deal about their experience, ethics and results. Always look to see if they have a bio, read it thoroughly because this should give you some insight into their professional history, training and credentials, an excellent example of an online surgeon’s bio to look for is; Dr Scamp.
If you are still unsure, contact a cancer centre in your area, and select at least two surgeons from their directory and go from there.
- Commit yourself to meet with a minimum of two surgeons before choosing the surgeon you want to treat you.
- Make an appointment with both surgeons; take a friend, pay attention to the attitude of the staff. Keep track of waiting time prior to seeing the surgeon and the time he/she spends with you.
- Be sure you are comfortable with his or her attitude during your visit.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Go prepared with a list of questions; ask your friend to take notes and ask questions from your list, that you may have forgotten to ask. Be sure to find out if all testing can be done in one place and done quickly, or if the doctor needs to refer you to a few different facilities for additional testing. This can be one of the determining factors in your choice of physicians and hospitals or treatment centres.
Taking The Next Step
When you are entirely sure that you have found the right surgeon, make appointments for the required tests, and make sure that the clinic providing the tests accepts your insurance. If you have a choice…mastectomy or lumpectomy, take time to do your homework once again. Research what is involved in each surgical treatment to determine which one you feel is right for you.
Ensure that your breast surgeon thoroughly goes over with you what your surgery will involve, what you need to do to prepare for surgery, and anticipated hospitalisation and recuperation time. If you want breast reconstruction surgery, ask the surgeon for referrals to specialist plastic surgeons he works with on a regular basis.