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Help on how to talk to doctor


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Hi all,

My mom finally has an appointment with her oncologist today to (hopefully) discuss a treatment plan.  She has asked me for some help in talking with her doctor about why her "mass" was not detected in previous CT scans by her and her team.  Here's a bit of history: She has a recurrence of lung cancer. In April she got the 1 year "all clear" based on a CT scan.  She continued to have issues breathing, her new pulmonary doctor was looking through her scans to see if he could identify the problem (he was assuming a kink in an airway).  He noticed this "mass" and immediately wanted to biopsy (the same scan they gave her the "all clear" with)...turns out the mass was closing her airway 70% and causing the cough and breathing issue.

So, we all are quite upset that this was not caught by her oncologist and others who are in charge of looking at her scans.  I know it's important to get over our frustration and focus on her future fight, but she wants to ask why it wasn't caught earlier.  We don't want to offend the doctor, so I was wondering if anyone had some advice of how to bring it up so that it may not be offensive.  Thanks!

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Your mother's question is valid and sorry I wasn't able to chime in before the consultation.  But, I wouldn't worry about offending doctors.  You pay for their time and therefore have an implicit right to ask or complain about anything they do or fail to do. If it were me, I'd simply ask the question: "why was this not discovered earlier." That said, I wouldn't have a clue why the recurrence escaped detection.  Hope the session went well.

Stay the course.


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Tom, I did receive you response before the appointment and it helped me to just come out and ask versus sugar coating it. Thank you!

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