I haven't seen my doctor for a year... I just ... - CLL Support

CLL Support

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I haven't seen my doctor for a year... I just get a Physician's Assistant.

barbkerm profile image

I'm going to request the doctor the next time... I assumed that I would be seeing him.. but I just got a PA. She asked the questions, asked if I had any questions... and that was pretty much it... Anyone else have this... I go to Florida Cancer Center in Sebring ... the doctor is nice enough, and explained a year ago that I had W&W... but since... just the PA. Is this usual?

14 Replies

Hubby sees Dr Chavez at Moffitt in Tamps. Just got given to the new (yet very experienced NP). I like all of the ones we have seen. The only problem

with Dr. Chavez is he is from Peru and I have a hard time understanding him sometimes. This guy from Florida but been in NYC for about 25 years. Talked aLOT! But I think now that we ‘got to know each other’ it will be less. I get my info here and the handouts at the office.

Hubby has no symptoms other than the labs are off some.

Best to you!


In my opinion you have a condition that’s not a cold .. your paying to see a Dr a specialist an oncologist. I’m sure the oncologist is far more educated dealing with cancer then a NP , Not taking anything away from a NP but there not oncologist and is unacceptable by every account. Sorry if people disagree. I’d be gone the first time the Dr didn’t see me.

DMary profile image
DMary in reply to Ironj

Some physician assistants are specialty trained and work closely with the specialists. The one that works with my doc is very knowledgable and works closely with the doc. She's quite easy to talk to and competent.

Ironj profile image
Ironj in reply to DMary

No reasonable person would think a NP isn’t smart. The point I’m making is your insurance company is paying for you to see a cancer specialist not a NP that has extra training. I personally only want the expert Dr to treat me that’s why I chose that particular specialist. Everyone has an opinion but if not seeing a Dr maybe the insurance company should get a discount.

DMary profile image
DMary in reply to Ironj

I'm sure we all approach self-advocacy in ways that suit us. I agree that if we're not getting the attention and care we deserve we should speak up and make the changes we can.

I should have made this point - even though I was initially disappointed to not always see my specialist every visit I discovered that the PA takes more time and explores more quality of life options with me than the doc does. That seems to be her role.

I was/am happy with the education the doc provides and the thoroughness of his care. Together they make a good team. He reviews the bloodwork and decides who he will see on a given day, and if I get the PA I read it as a good sign and enjoy her extended visits, The bottom line is they work together, he always knows what I've discussed with her and I'm confident he's still on top of my health and I trust his judgement.

Barbkerm - I just wanted you to know that these arrangements can work. That doesn't mean your specialist and his team are working for you, just that it can work. I do hope you find the care that suits you, and a doctor or team that helps you feel confident in the level of care you're getting.

debralynn profile image
debralynn in reply to Ironj

Agree with Ironj

Definitely go to Moffitt Cancer Center. I went to Dr. Pinilla. You do see him initially then his team takes over. But you can request him few times a year.

Sounds like you aren't satisfied with your care. I used them for second opinion. I live 4 hrs away so I don't go for routine or my treatment. Definitely would if I lived closer.

I don’t think it’s a good thing not to be able to see your doctor and have him answer questions. My doctor at md Anderson always takes the time to sit with me and answer all my questions. I appreciate it and try to use our time wisely. I usually meet first with his assistant who does my examination. She is awesome and answers my questions as well.

You haven’t written much about your Cll though. The good news might be that your Cll is so indolent that your doctor doesn’t see you as needing treatment for many years. If your numbers aren’t changing much your doctor may just be comfortable having his assistant meet with you.

I still think your doctor should meet with you, but it’s not unusual for any doctor to have his or her assistant handle routine office visits where everything is basically status quo.


Whilst I agree you should have the absolute right to see your doctor when you require the fact you are seeing an underling is somewhat of a positive.

It points to tge facts that your condition is at least slowly changing or even stable which is common with this illness.

By all means if you are concerned insist on the doctor next visit but it is not unusual to see one of tge team dur8ng watch and wait whilst things are stable. So take tge positive from this situation.

I have sometimes had intake done by a PA, but see my doctor at every appointment whether I'm stable or something is out of line. Dr. Asher Channan Kahn at the Mayo in Florida is the other well known CLL specialist

( along with Dr. Pinilla).

Need to develop relationship with doctor for if and when the time comes.

I agree with all the points of view... I personally would ask to have doctor see me at some point in all future visits. Seen by PA for evaluation is cool but then doctor should step in after and look it all over. In a way getting to see the PA is a bonus! Extra set of eyes to remember and think about you. But the doctor should make an effort to "know" you. Often the doctors are stretched thin and overbooked so the more people who care for and CARE about you the better!

It seems reasonable to think your doctor is looking over everything the PA does. He/she should pop their head in and do a hello though.

My dad is a retired PA. Unfortunately, it seems like they can get stuck doing stuff doctor does not want to do. But that is the job I guess. I would hope your doctor wants to see you...

Ironj profile image
Ironj in reply to DriedSeaweed

I agree that NP AND PA are good to have at a Drs office because they are overbooked. And need help. But in only my opinion I think they are great in a GP’s office for the run of the mill issues not established Cancer care . And again the Insurance companies are paying a higher premium for people go see a specialist not a PA. I’m happy to hear some people don’t have an issue with seeing a PA and that it works for them.

I see a nurse practitioner 90% of the time.She is outstanding and I have no issues with that.

I have the option to see my doctor whenever I want. I see him about 3/4 times a year.

I go to Mayo Clinic in Florida

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