When a woman learns she has breast cancer, the news can be overwhelming, just when she needs to think clearly. Here are some vital tips to help you choose the right doctors for you, from leading breast cancer specialist Dr. Anne Moore.
Hello I'm Rene Syler, an ambassador for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. And I've seen a lot of breast cancer up close and personal, with my mother and father both battling the disease. If you've just been diagnosed, you're probably wondering, how do I find the right doctor?
Joining me now is Dr. Anne Moore, the Medical Director of the Breast Oncology program at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Dr. Moore, good to see.
Thank you Rene.
I would imagine trying to find a doctor that works for you and with you would be somewhat of a daunting task for a lot of women. What are some of the things that they should remember as they go about that process?
Well, I think a woman with a brand new suspicion or a diagnosis of breast cancer is very anxious about getting to a doctor. I think your first call should be to your family doctor or your gynecologist. They know the breast surgeons. They know you. And I think that's probably the first port to go to.
When looking for my own doctors, I was starting to go down this path. I didn't have breast cancer, but I had, what I called, troubled breasts. And the first doctor I came upon was one that didn't click with me, necessarily. How important is that for the patient to find a doctor that they can really relate to. And the patient feels like they're getting the best care, and that the doctors listening to them.
I think it's important. And I think that's what women expect to find. And if it's not working, it's just like anybody that you meet. If that's not the right one, you can certainly say, thank you so much, and find another doctor.
There are some attributes I would imagine that you would recommend every doctor have, like what?
Well we certainly go for credentials.
That's a big one.
That's for sure. That's for sure. And if there's any question, the websites for The American Board of Internal Medicine, The American Society of Clinical Oncology, the surgical websites are important. And that is important. Beyond that, I think the recommendations from their peers, from other doctors, is very important also.
How much experience should a doctor have in treating cancer?
I think again, that's a tricky question too, isn't it? Someone fresh out of training could be wonderful, could be wonderful, and has the time to spend with you. And if they're in a situation where there's some mentoring, and you're confident about it, I think a young doctor could be a wonderful doctor.
I think a lot of times when people hear, or a woman hears, that she has breast cancer she thinks, I got to get this out of me right away. I have to find an oncologist tomorrow. I have to have surgery the next day. That's not necessarily the case is it? And if it's not, how much time is she allowed between diagnosis and treatment?
I think that is an important question, because, as you say, it's so, so scary for the woman, that you would like to get everything done by Friday, please. And the answer is she really does have a few weeks. She will visit with the surgeon.
If it's a question of a mastectomy, she may want to visit with a plastic surgeon. If there's chemotherapy involved, and we sometimes do it even before surgery, there'll be a medical oncologist. And they will all consult among each other, which is very important among the doctors. But this is often a team approach, and the doctors should be very willing and able to discuss that woman's case among themselves.
Should she opt for a second opinion? How many opinions should she get?
Again, sometimes it's so straightforward, that she really doesn't need a second opinion. If there are choices to be made, sometimes a second opinion just helps you think it through more clearly when you hear it the second time around. So I think a second opinion, if you have to time and the resources are available to you, a second opinion can always be helpful. But I don't think it's essential for every case of breast cancer.
When my mother was going through her breast cancer, and we were meeting with the doctor for the first time, I went with her. And I said, bring a pad of paper with you to write down the questions that you don't understand, and, also, maybe there were some questions that you wrote down before the visit that you would like to talk about. Is that one of the things that you would recommend to patients who are going for a first visit to the doctor?
Oh, I think it's very important, very important. As much as you think you're going to hear, I think you miss an awful lot. So bringing somebody with you as an extra set of the ears, I think, is great. Taking notes is great. Asking the doctor questions, very important.
And when you leave the appointment, I think you should be very clear, what the doctor is recommending and ask him or her to repeat it. Often you go out with a different impression of what the doctor actually said. So just be clear about it before you leave the appointment.
I think a lot of times people hear, you have cancer, and they think, I'm going to die. Cancer diagnosis does not always equal death, right? And I think that's important to note.
I think that's really important. The word, cancer, is so terrifying. The word, breast cancer, is so terrifying. The death rate from breast cancer has been going down steadily since 1990. There are two million women in this country walking around who had breast cancer. And they're doing very well.
Dr. Moore, thank you.
Thank you, Rene.
For more information you can visit the Susan G. Komen For the Cure website at www.komen.org, or you can call their helpline at 1-800-I'm Aware. I'm Rene Syler.
Howdini is life’s little instruction manual, in HD. We’re all about bringing together the top, most respected experts in their fields to help us be the best we can be at all of the little and not-so-little challenges of our complicated lives. Howdini is the place to be for the know-how you want, when you need it. Or maybe it’s the know-how you need, when you want it. Whatever. We’re here to help. So come in and look around, won’t you?
We think you’ll love finding everything you want to learn about in one convenient place, and as we grow and add more categories and more Howdinis, you’ll be doing less surfing and more learning right here. And unlike television, Howdinis aren’t limited by time—we don’t have to break for commercials, and we’re always on.
Who is Howdini?
People often ask us, is there an actual person who is Howdini? And the answer is, it’s kind of like Lassie. Just as there were many Lassies, there are many individuals who are called Howdini. In fact, each of our experts is a Howdini, and, like all those Lassies, they really know their tricks. (Although so far there is no ‘How to tell your master that Timmy is trapped in the old abandoned mine’ segment)
Our gurus are people you know and trust because you’ve been getting advice from them for years, at places like Good Morning America, The Today Show, Money, Prevention, and Food and Wine (to name just a few). Many are best-selling authors. Others, like our medical experts, are respected leaders in their fields.
The first Howdini was Joanna Breen, who left a comfortable career at ABC’s 20/20 to create a how to video website after one too many frustrating experiences with handymen who weren’t that handy. Joanna had traveled the world reporting with Barbara Walters and others on injustice, outrage, and tragedy, but now it was time to turn her talents to dealing with crises closer to home, like what do you do if you drop your diamond ring down the drain. Joanna is the quintessential can-do girl, so she didn’t find the prospect of launching a gigantic website the least bit daunting. (Ok, that last part isn’t entirely true.)
Joanna convinced an old ABC News buddy, Shelley Lewis, to join her. Shelley had supervised roughly 9.7 million helpful how to segments during a long career executive producing television shows like Good Morning America and CNN’s American Morning. A self-described “info-pig” who loves all kinds of information programming, she is never happier than when she’s learning an amazing new tip that she can annoy share with everyone she knows. Needless to say, Howdini was a dream gig for her. A career woman, a wife, a mother, and author of two books, Shelley considers herself equally challenged by all the facets of her life.
Joanna and Shelley were introduced to marketing executive Alison Provost by a mutual friend who knew that Alison had what they needed - entrepreneurial experience, patience, and a checkbook that still had checks in it. Joanna and Shelley could see right away that Alison should join Howdini. They figured that they would take care of the programming, and Alison would bring trustworthy sponsors to help pay the bills. It took Alison significantly longer to be convinced, maybe because she was crazy busy running a marketing firm called PowerPact, which she continues to oversee while serving as the biggest of big cheeses at Howdini. But whether it’s playing Suduko or launching a new business in a field she knows little about, Alison loves the challenge of a good puzzle, It wasn’t long before she began dropping obscure internet terms like “user-interface” and “googlebot” into casual conversation.
What’s Next for Howdini?
Our goals are modest. Complete and total domination of the internet, crushing Google, Microsoft, and any other punks who get in our way. (Hey, it’s a just a goal.) But until then, we will content ourselves making the best, most professional, most credible how to videos you can find anywhere. We want to help you solve your career issues, your parenting problems, your money troubles. We want you to be more glamorous, healthier, and less stressed out. We want you to check Howdini every day for fun, interesting, useful advice from experts you know and trust.
We want to make Howdini the community you love to be part of every day, To do that, we need to hear from you. Please share your suggestions, rate and comment on the Howdini videos, and the blog, (The Howdini blog). Tell us what you’d like us to create for you.
And then, when we’ve achieved that, it’s back to working on complete and total domination of the internet.