Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Cancer Center Checklist

Cancer is one of those conditions where any doctor would not fault their patient for seeking out a second opinion, or the help of a specialist. Certainly, no doctor would willingly deprive a patient with cancer of the necessary referral to get better help. Let's face it, not every medical practitioner or facility is prepared to handle a patient with cancer – any type of cancer. As such, patients will often find themselves being sent to cancer centers – facilities designed specifically to deal with patients with cancer. With that in mind, what sorts of things would a person going to such a place need to bring on their first visit?

Well, the obvious requirement would be medical records from their previous doctor. The new doctor, no matter what the skill level, would be unable to help a patient if the patient did not bring medical records with them. Without those records, the doctor would have to start things off from scratch, and while the new doctor can take the time needed to understand every medical nuance in the person's life, it would inevitably take a lot more time than the average cancer patient would theoretically have. In other words, be sure to bring complete and accurate medical records.

It would also be a good idea to have information on any tests that were recently taken – along with results – and the list of medications currently being taken. This includes any over-the-counter medications or prescription drugs that someone is taking currently, and any that may have been taken recently. Alternative medications, dietary supplements, and any medications introduced into the body through surgical procedures should also be included. Radiology exams like x-rays and ultrasounds should also be included, along with a review made by the primary physician in written form.

Referrals would also be a good idea. This includes a letter from the original physician referring the person to the cancer center, and documentation from the insurance company. Some insurance companies may require the first one, or a formal referral from the primary physician. Insurance companies and cancer centers may also require formal documentation of this nature to make sure that the visit is fully paid for by the insurance company.

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