Before you start treatment, you will need to decide who will make up your medical team.
Your team of cancer specialists could include:
- a surgeon
- a breast care nurse
- a medical oncologist
- a radiation oncologist
You will probably be referred to a surgeon in the first instance. Make sure you feel comfortable with this person. Things to consider include:
- Do you feel able to ask as many questions as you want to?
- Does your surgeon/oncologist provide you with fulsome answers that satisfy your need to know?
- Do you feel able to spend as much time as you need discussing your case with your doctor?
- Do you feel your doctor takes your concerns seriously?
Remember, if you're receiving care through the public health system, you may not see the same oncologist at every appointment. If you want to see the same person each time, you may have to consider paying for private treatment.
If you have any doubts about your medical care, seek a second opinion. To do this:
- Have a lengthy discussion with your GP about the best specialist to meet your particular needs
- Ask others who have experienced treatment for breast cancer who they recommend
- Remember that you are entirely within your rights to seek a second opinion and medical professionals should feel comfortable wtih this course of action, not offended.
New Zealand now has guidelines for the management of early breast cancer which outline the best practice treatment methods for early breast cancer. All medical professionals should be meeting the standards outlined in these guidelines.