Cancer is a very serious condition and choosing the correct doctor can mean the difference between life and death.
When someone is diagnosed with cancer, or even suspected to have a cancer condition, there can be many emotions involved.
Fear, confusion, anger, worry are some of the many emotions that may affect both the patient and family members.
With an urgency to get the correct treatment, there is a need to absorb a huge amount of medical information quickly.
In such a situation, it is often difficult to make a decision on which cancer doctor to consult.
To help patients make an informed choice, here is a checklist of 7 important considerations:
1) Is your doctor correctly qualified for your condition.
A patient may be looking for the best cancer specialist but there are often multiple specialists that may be vital to consult for a first and second opinion.
Medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and specialized surgical oncologists are only some of the many cancer doctors that may be needed to manage your condition.
2) Can you get an appointment quickly enough.
Every single day counts.
Is there a delay in getting an appointment to see your doctor?
It is important to get effective treatment started to prevent the cancer from spreading.
Is there a wait for the necessary CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans needed to properly access your condition before starting the treatment? Ideally you should get an appointment immediately, the next working day at the latest.
3) Is your doctor able to provide you the best possible care or more likely to offer standard recommendations?
As cancer is a very difficult condition to treat, it is possible that first-line therapy or even second-line treatments may fail. While there are many advances in cancer treatments available internationally, some new treatments are not yet widely available in Singapore. You may need your doctor to make special arrangements for you to receive the latest non-standard treatment to save your life.
Is he likely to be in a position or willing to do this?
4) Are you limiting your options unnecessarily due to a worry about medical expenses?
It is well known that cancer treatments can be expensive. But most people have medical insurance that can cover a large part of their cancer treatments, even if they see a private cancer specialist.
And for the part that medical insurance may not fully cover, you can likely use your medisave account. Medisave is money for which you have been saving money for your entire working life.
This, of all times, would be the time to use your insurance and medisave.
Is your doctor likely to be constrained by additional factors such as a need by their medical institution to control costs?
Will the doctor only offer “cost-effective” options when a new, more costly treatment could potentially give you more meaningful days of life?
5) Are the fees reasonable?
Even though you may have insurance and medisave, or be willing to pay for the best possible treatments, costs can vary greatly.
While your doctor’s professional fees will be a significant proportion of the bill, other components such as hospital fees and the cost of cancer medications can add up significantly.
It is sometimes important to pay for quality and we may not necessarily choose the “cheapest option”. However an expensive doctor or hospital is not necessarily the best.
Price is not always an accurate indication for quality.
It is important to select good, cost-effective care most suited for your condition.
6) Does your doctor have access to the latest medical technology for treating cancer?
The medical institution your doctor practices in may affect the treatment options you have available.
For example, the presence of a Da Vinci Surgical system for robotic assisted surgery and an Elekta Infinity Linear Accelerator can make a big difference to your treatment options.
7) Is your doctor of a high professional and ethical standard?
It is probably fair to say all Singapore cancer specialists are highly qualified with years of clinical training and experience.
For a doctor to qualify as a cancer specialist, a quick google of all their profiles will likely reveal an impressive lists of academic qualifications and clinical experience.
What may not be as easy to learn online is how much your doctor cares for each patient and their standing among fellow doctors.
A third party with close knowledge and the benefit of knowing the experiences of past patients can be very helpful for you to make an informed choice.
For a recommendation on which doctor to consult for your condition, simply send us a message
(Our specialist recommendation service is FREE. If you optionally request extra services such as translation and medical transport, there may be a small fee involved)
Recommend Me A Doctor
Dr Prem Pillay
#15-03 Mt Elizabeth Medical Centre, 3 Mt. Elizabeth, Singapore 228510.
Tel: (65) 6835 4325 Fax: (65) 6835 4326
Dr Quah Hak Mien
Consultant Colerectal Surgeon
Quah Hak Mien Colorectal Centre 6 Napier Road #05-01, Gleneagles Medical Centre, Singapore 258499