Today is my second opinion oncologist appointment. After the shock of what the last oncologist told my surgeon I am hoping this goes well. I need a new permanent oncologist. My appointment is scheduled for 2 pm. I arrive early because I know there is always paperwork. I sometimes wonder if you could create your own and turn it in at a doctor’s office as they are all pretty much the same. It sure would save time.
I am taken back for blood work and vitals and then my husband and I are taken to a second waiting room. We weren’t there five minutes and were taken into a room. It was pretty efficient and friendly.
In comes the doctor and I am prepared with my list of questions. I was up front that I had seen another oncologist and what had happened. She was very professional and didn’t comment about the other doctor. She only said she hoped she could help me and clear up any questions I had.
Question 1: If I have a lumpectomy what is my treatment and best guess estimate of recurrence? She said with a lumpectomy there is always radiation because it is the only way to be positive there are no lingering small particles there to regrow. Then there would be chemotherapy because they need to be sure there are no particles that have already escaped the breast area to start growing elsewhere in my body. There is a 10-15% chance of recurrence in the same breast after treatment. These percentages are only over a 5 year span. After 5 years you are pronounced cancer free and they don’t keep the percentages the same way in studies.
Questions 2: If I have a mastectomy what is my treatment and best guesstimate of recurrence? With the mastectomy, things will depend a bit on the lymph node dissection. If its clear and I complete treatment the recurrence rate is under 4%. She said she would want to see the pathology from he surgery before deciding on what exact chemotherapy medication I would need and the timeline of the treatments. Radiation would not be needed because my cancer was not near the chest wall.
She did say as a stage 1, I was a good candidate for the lumpectomy, but it did have the higher risk or coming back. I was up front with her that I really didn’t think I could handle going through this twice. She was very understanding. She answered every question my husband and I had for her. This lady devoted almost two hours just to helping us understand. She made us feel confident in her decisions and abilities. I felt this was a woman I could trust to treat me.
I told her that of course I wanted to think a little but I was almost positive I would do the double mastectomy – taking the second as a precaution against future cancer and hopefully sparing myself from ever going through this again. She asked when I was to return to my surgeon. I told her my appointment was in 5 days. She said if I would let him know what I decided that he would make sure she knew and we could go from there.
I left the office pleased with her assistance and with some serious thinking to do.
My Oncologist: Dr. Cheryl Jones
Dr. Jones works in Macon, GA and specializes in Hematology/Oncology. Dr. Jones is affiliated with Coliseum Medical Centers and Medical Center Navicent Health.
Dr. Jones is Vice-President for Georgia Cancer Specialists and serves as the principal research investigator in Macon. She is an active participant in the GCS Quality, Research and Therapeutics Committee and also is a Medical and Quality Director for Northside Hospital Cancer Institute. Dr. Jones served as the President of Bibb County Medical Society in 2004 and as the American College of Surgeons’ Cancer Liaison Physician and Chief of Staff for the Coliseum Medical Center. She has served on the Boards of Directors for the Medical Association of Georgia, for the Georgia Physicians for Accountable Care, the Middle Georgia Education Foundation, the Middle Georgia Affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the American Cancer Society in Dougherty and Bibb Counties, and the State of Georgia. Dr. Jones is also a member of numerous professional societies.