Oncologists: Love them or loathe them?

I have been for my check-up this morning to once again confront (what seems to me) an oncologist who does not accept that chemo has long-term effects on the body. She says that the body usually returns to normal a short time after chemo, that there is only a small proportion of women who have memory loss and concentration problems - and that sites such as these are only representative of women who are having problems with cancer.

She does not accept that the chemo will have affected my vocal folds - I know a few people who have had issues with this, post-chemo (including my late father-in-law). But there seems to be no joined-up thinking between specialist areas. (I will see my GP again and ask for a Ent specialist.)

Does anyone else feel that they are hitting a brick wall at times with oncologists? Or does the above appear to have validity?

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  • Hi Sara,

    I suspect all of us feel we are at odds with doctors at some stage in this treatment - in fact, I suspect it is necessary for us to negotiate the fall into realism that comes with the realisation that they don't actually know all that much about it. For two and a half decades I worked with people who were suffering from long term depression and had become addicted to the so called 'minor' tranquillizers prescribed to combat it which were then recognised to exacerbate the problems. The same doctors (often even consultant psychiatrists) who had prescribed the drugs then withdrew them far too quickly to be safe in many cases as this can lead to siezures - simply because the 'advice' from NICE was that too many were being prescribed. This is just one illustration of the lack of acceptance of the wider effects of drug use in the Health service.

    We know that the general diet and lifestyle advice that is necessary to improve the prognosis of cancer is not fully understood by many oncologists, and even discounted by some, and that some tend to have a tunnelled-vision about drug treatment and surgery being the only route, with radiotherapy, etc.

    I see this as a device to retain control and power. However, any professional who feels that it is not helpful for their patient/client to have a role and information about their condition, and to be working toward their own recovery is very deluded - we are always more powerful and effective when we take control for ourselves. Any practitionner who asserts that a drug cannot cause any symptom or after-effect is simarily either stupid or arrogant. Drugs (and I've specialised in drug problems - prescribed and otherwise- for 30 yrs) cause all sorts of problems -usually many more than they solve. Anyone not acknowledging that is just not paying attention!

    As for these sites being only representative of people who have problems with cancer! Well...ok, many who sail through treatment to cure don't stay on the networks - but many do too as they feel it is useful and necessary to support others going through the horrible process. I fear that one of the main problems that some cancer patients have is their blind 'obedience' to the strictures of their oncologists - who are often in turn as blinkered as yours!

    Having said that- I'm sure she's useful in some ways. I always take the bits I want, and reject the rubbish mine talks as the rantings of an over-powerful, spoilt 'big baby' (mine looks a bit like a buddha - and is treated with a reverence that supports him in belief of his own crap). I'm quite fond of him now - but don't think everything he says is gospel, by any means.

    Sorry - this has become an essay!

    Isadora.

  • Your oncologist only has to read some of the very strong evidence in top peer reviewed journals about the long term effects of chemo! I can't believe anyone really believes there are no reprecussions after the amount of chemicals we are exposed to. Having said that there's a lot we can do to detox from the chemicals and build the body back up as it naturally heals itself.

    Jane

  • Hi Sarah!

    I'm sure there are those who seem tuned in to our needs and those who are not so much.... It may help to have a look at some of the factsheets on Ovacome's home page. If you look under resources, then factsheets. The no 4 one may be useful. Or the About Ovarian Cancer option. There may be some hints there about how to progress. Or ring the helpline 0845 371 0554, the nurses there will help you, I'm sure. Good luck, you could use some reassurance and support right now!

    Love Wendy xx

  • Hi Sarah

    I was fortunate enough not to have had chemo but the consultant I saw described it as poison! He only suggested it as a necessary evil. Perhaps the person you saw should read up on it a little more!

    Love

    Anne

    PS I have gone back to work but am now off sick again with asthma- never rains but it pours,eh?

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