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Do other (not cancer related) doctors need to know?


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Sorry if it seems a little silly, but I don't necessarily want everyone and their cousin to know about my having lung cancer.  Other than 1 chemo session, I've been on targeted therapy (I have ROS1 mutation) so I've managed to keep my hair and through it all last 8-9 months including penumonectomy and radiations, I've been able to maintain the uh... "look of wellness" (even my med oncologist said if he didn't know me, he wouldn't have any idea there is anything wrong with me).

Although I've already had my 6-month teeth cleaning in April, I didn't tell my dentist of 10 years as I didn't think there is any reason he needs to know.  Now I have to go get my annual eye exam (I wear daily contact lenses, so whether or not I feel like it, I need to go see her) next month and once again I've found myself wondering, well, does she needs to know?  Hmmm.  I should say that one of the side effects I've had with Crizotinib (targeted therapy) from the first week is the occasional blurred vision, but then what would she know about THAT anyway...

Do you tell "other" doctors?  Any thoughts appreciated as I'm just pondering out loud :) 

Thank you.


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I tell EVERY doctor and I'm not even receiving any kind of treatment.  Doctors take health histories because sometimes the information becomes relevant.  I just had dental implants.  I wanted to be sure my dentist knows about my recent osteoporosis diagnosis--medications for that can interfere with implant healing.  Another doctor could be treating you for whatever, and let's say you develop symptoms.  It's important for them to know what other meds you are taking or what other conditions you might have, just to get to the bottom of it.  

They are legally bound to keep your medical info private--it isn't like they will be telling other people about your cancer.  

I think it's risky not to be honest with them.

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I tell them all also.  Actually, I've been seeing my stable of doctors for so long now they already know the details.  I had one interesting ER admission that was unusual.  When the ER doc saw the results of my CT scan, and not knowing my medical history (at least not paying attention to my medical history form), he told me the bad news about "hypodense" legions in my liver. I told him my oncologist had been reporting the same finding for nearly 15 years.

So sometimes we disclose and they don't pay attention.

Stay the course.


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Yep, I agree with what everybody else has said. Any health professional evaluating or treating you needs to know about your cancer and your treatment. As far as other people-- friends, coworkers, neighbors, etc., it's up to you to decide who to tell what, but for health providers, it's important they know because  bodily stuff can be related in ways we wouldn't even think of.

Bridget O

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Have to agree with everyone...I tell all the doctors.

I had an ear infection at one point and made sure my Ear, Nose, Throat doc knew I'd just had cisplatin chemo as it stays in your ears! Plus I had thrush during treatment and didn't want them to give me meds that would bring that back if they didn't have to. LOL Better to give them all the info so they can make the right choices in your care.

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Just one other way to think about it.  I'm a lawyer, and one of the exceptions to the hearsay rule (which normally precludes testimony about out-of-court statements) is for statements made for purposes of medical diagnosis and treatment.  The theory is that it's SO important to be truthful with the doctor that there's basically a presumption that people are.  There are probably exceptions to that rule (e.g., "Oh, I floss regularly" or "I'm strictly a social drinker") but in general, most of us tell the doctor things we wouldn't want anyone else to know about.  Their treatment is only as good as what they know--and there are some things only the patient can tell them.  

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