The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation
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Oncology consultant vs Staff grade


My husband has had two rounds of chemo (pemetrexed and cisplatin) as has stage IV adenocarcinoma with 2 brain metastases. The last appointment with oncology we did not see our oncology consultant and were put with another doctor, who was nice but we did not have a relationship with her like we do with our consultant. I have just found out that our next appointment this Friday is with what they call a "staff grade" as our consultant is not here this week. Firstly does anyone know what a staff grade is, and is this normal to be passed around? I'm concerned he is not getting consistent care. He is only 51 and a normally fit and healthy non smoker. Thank you

4 Replies

When I was first diagnosed I saw the same consultant every time. Then when my 4 sessions of chemo were over I saw a different Dr. I am now seeing a third doctor.

I like you wonder how good the other doctors are but understand that the main consultant needs to see the newly diagnosed. I also know they have weekly MDT meetings of all the Doctors where they discuss the results and treatment of all the patients so no one Doctor makes the decisions on what drugs are offered to you.

It is very unsettling and I don't have the rapport I had with the consultant. But if I was just told I had cancer I would want to see the main Doc first and they can't see all of us. I am now finding that I ask my lung cancer nurses when I get confused and if they don't know they will come back to me.

I'm sorry I can't answer the question but you could ask your nurse.



Thanks Jeanne (pretty name by the way!).

Yes, you're absolutely right and I never really thought that through properly. That has really helped me, thank you so much X


Hi what happened with me: the MRI showed one larger tumour and 2 smaller on the other side of my brain. I saw the oncologist who was not the expert for brain issues but breast cancer. We couldn't believe I was told that I was looking at a few months to live . That is why I got my Will updated urgently the next day and my papers in order and put all the bills into my husbands name and gave my clothes to charity. I decided where my ashes were going to and we looked at a nice place for my hubby to disperse of them and next appointment was returned to my original lung cancer Onc. who knew all about me and I was then referred from him to a brain expert In Cambridge to be at where I am at present. Feeling great after the treatent in Cambridge thankful too be here but im not complacent I am still not counting my chickens but that is why I said to Rab I now have got a new wardrobe and i'm quite happy having passed all the bills over to my hubby although he wasnt that keen for some reason he he.

Hoggy x

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I have just read your post. I am ALK positive too, I was 49 years old when I was first diagnosed and I am a non smoker too. I was diagnosed in November 2013 when a secondary tumour was found behind my right eye. A biopsy of my eye showed that the primary tumour was in my Lung.

When I go to the hospital, The Christie in Manchester, which I go to every month, I see a specialist registrar if it's a routine appointment and if I have anything that I am concerned about I ask to see the Consultant. I am always able to see her when I have asked if she is there, they sometimes say that I will have to wait longer to see her eg an hour and I say that that is ok. I do not mind waiting. I usually then have a listing of questions ready to ask and Frank, my partner will make a few notes about what is said.

There is also a website in America called Inspire. It's worth looking at if you are interested. It has a special section for people who are ALK positive and people from all over the world comment on it. It also refers to research and what's happening in the states. One lady who writes on it was diagnosed as ALK positive 11 years ago and I think was on the drug trial for crizotinib.

Wishing you both all the best


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