Academic Medical Center Oncologist Changes - 1264882

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Academic Medical Center Oncologist Changes - 1264882

I know that it is highly recommended that if possible to go to an academic medical center for treatments, etc. I want to pose a question though. I have been seen for the past not quite four years at an academic facility and am now being changed to a third oncologist. It gets to be pretty annoying that you get used to somebody and they leave. Is this a common practice because these doctors are just starting out on their own after medical school? Don't get me wrong this center has done very well by me but they just changed doctors again and I don't really have a choice in the matter if I continue there.

Since I am only being seen for 6 month follow-ups because I have been NED for almost 4 years, would it be reasonable to have my PCP do the follow-ups after this upcoming one? Sorry if this seems trivial but I would prefer some stability if possible. thanks --mikem

Reply To: Academic Medical Center Oncologist Changes

I'm sorry Mikem you're losing another oncologist. I can imagine the frustration and isn't at all trivial. I don't know the answer. I wonder if you have a choice of someone who appears to have found a home at the center you're seen in. Another option would be to move to a community center where the docs may tend to be more settled in their careers. D's onc has been with his private practice for over 20 years and hopefully isn't going anywhere anytime soon. I imagine D would be devastated to lose him.


Dr West
Reply To: Academic Medical Center Oncologist Changes

As a private practice oncologist, I certainly have a bias, though I worked for years in an academic setting. Academic centers tend to have more specialists, but there are many extremely good and often very knowledgeable oncologists in private practice, and yes, the turnover tends to be lower than in an academic setting (though there are some established docs who may spend their entire careers in one place -- it's just less common than in private practice).

As far out as four years, it would be reasonable to have your PCP do annual scans and just refer you to an oncologist if there are concerning changes, but many PCPs are very reluctant to undertake even remote long term follow-up surveillance of cancer patients, so it's really up to your PCP, but it's unusual.

-Dr. West

Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education