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Ageism and changing oncologist


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It’s been a while since i updated my status but long story short, after chemo and radiation, I started durvumilab.  After three rounds, a Ct showed new lesion on my liver and increased activity in my lungs.  So oncologist stopped immunotherapy and put me on Gemcitabine and carboplatin.  At that point I decided to get a consult at U of Michigan with a highly recommended oncologist. I did that and he said that my treatment so far was correct and all he recommended was eliminating the carboplatin to reduce side effects. No trials available at that time.  
I had another Ct scan last week which seemed to indicate shrinkage in lung area but growth of liver lesion ( and a weird spleen thing). I requested to see the scan but he declined saying ho couldn’t interpret. I then stated that the radiation oncologist could and he agreed. In that meeting I asked at least three times if the liver met and spleen could be biopsied or treated and the general answer was there’s no point, you still have cancer. he wants to just continue and rescan in a month.  It took me less than an hour on internet to find that they can be treated, especially if there are few Mets. That’s all I have. I met with radiation oncologist and it took him five minutes t start talking about what could be done. He wants a pet scan, especially to check out lungs.   I have decided that I need a new oncologist as this one seems to have just given up in a way.  He doesn’t consult with the other doctors which has been a problem all along.  I am 76, feel very good and have tolerated everything pretty well.  I just wonder, is there a point age wise where some doctors just think it’s not worth trying new things. Hopefully I am not to far along treatment wise to go to U of M or Henry Ford Cancer Center as a patient.  If I can keep my radiation oncologist I will, he has been great.  Not a short story after all 




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Hi Sally,

Good for you standing your ground. For my own case, I feel like I am getting special treatment for being young(ish) - I was diagnosed at 49. But on the reverse, it seems to me that older patients do get less attention. I am battling with this for my mum - not cancer-related, but she pretty much get sent home from doctors with “don’t forget to stay hydrated” for every ailment, no matter how severe. It is really positive that you have a radiation oncologist that you rate, as he can help you get a grounding with a new team.

Go for it, Rikke

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I agree with Rikke, each of us must be our own advocates and protect our interests.  That being said; I wonder how many other people he has provided such poor treatment to.  I pray not many.  Please let us know what happens with the new treatment.


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I'm sure that ageism is a factor in treating a patient's cancer-- for some doctors. The bottom line: no matter what the reason, we deserve to have doctors who will work with us, in a way each of us feels good about for ourselves. Fore me, that means a combination of care and respect.

When you said the oncologist doesn't consult with other doctors and that he said there was no point in further exploration, I was appalled. This is not somebody who is ageist, he's simply not up to date. If he is not actively engaged in the lung cancer research arena, even just to try to keep up with it, he is worthless to you as an oncologist. (Sorry to sound harsh, but I don't think we have time to be nice.) 

I, too, have a radiologist who is gold. I always have her review scans, even if she hasn't ordered them, because she is so good at it. I think this keeps both oncologist and radiologist on their toes. 

Right now, I think you are never "too far along treatment-wise" to seek another opinion or another doctor. Go for it!!!!


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  • 3 weeks later...

I am working more closely with my radiation oncologist who is wonderful. The doctor at U of Michigan will consult as needed. I actually did talk with the medical oncologist about my “feelings”. .  Difficult but by gosh he got it. He would recommend exactly what the Michigan guys thought. Going ahead with radiation to spleen and liver Mets. The only two I have. Will keep updating. Thanks for the support. 

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