This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in September of 2019. For the original video go to https://youtu.be/k1SlmlqHXF8
Bob: Today we’re going to talk about if you are diagnosed with cancer, top three things you should do immediately. A lot of this information is from the “Patients Playbook.” It’s by Leslie Michelson. It’s how to save your life and the lives of those you love. I thought this was a good comprehensive book, kind of a guideline of what to do with any serious illness, not just cancer, but any serious illness. How to approach it and save your life.
Brad: And how to work with the medical community.
Bob: Exactly, which is a very complex issue now. All right, first off, let me extend my greatest sympathies to you and your family of people who are reading, if you’re reading this because someone in your family has been diagnosed with cancer. I’ve gone through this with my daughter. It’s devastating. One thing that I’ve found that worked out the best for us, Brad, is that you feel better acting. If you’re just sitting there and lamenting over it, you feel better doing these things that we’re going to mention today. The first thing is you want to choose the right place for treatment. That seems obvious, but a lot of people, I know, they have a hospital in their town, it might be smaller and they’re going, “well I have cancer, I’m just going to get treated here. It’s a lot easier.” You don’t want to do that. You want to pick, basically a center of excellence. If you have small problems, you can go to a small hospital, but when you have large problems, you must go to a large teaching hospital.
Bob: Most of these, your insurance, a lot of time, and Medicare will cover these large institutions. I mean, you can go to some of the best institutions in the world and they’ll take Medicare.
Brad: Sure, wow.
Bob: So, in our area we’re very lucky. We have two within, what would you say, and hour and a half?
Brad: Right, an easy drive.
Bob: Yeah. We have Mayo Clinic, and we have Gunderson Health Systems. So, all very good.
Brad: I don’t know. I’m kind of going against you a little bit here, Bob. I know my friend went to Gunderson and then he went to Mayo, and then he went to a third place which was a small, but very specific. All they treated was that specific cancer.
Bob: That’s a good point.
Brad: There are exceptions to that.
Bob: If you have a clinic that just specializes in that one cancer, absolutely. All right, number two, get the second opinion. At least have the pathology report reread. So, one study they cited in the book and they had a whole chapter or section on this, how important this was. There were 742 patients in this study, and they all had cancer, and they got a second opinion and 69 of the cases, that’s nine percent, it came up with a different diagnosis on the second opinion.
Brad: It was a different kind of cancer, or it wasn’t cancer?
Bob: I don’t know, just a different diagnosis. Either way, it’s important to know.
Brad: I have a good friend of mine, his father was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was from the chemical, Asbestos. He was diagnosed with it, so they went to get the best surgeon they could which happened to be in New York that they found. He flew to New York to have the surgery and he was good, the surgeon was, because something didn’t look right about it, so he got another biopsy of it, sent it in while he was on the table. Ended up not being cancer.
Bob: Oh wow.
Brad: That was five or six years ago and he’s healthy as can be today. So, they lived with this diagnosis for, I don’t know how many weeks, before they had gone to the surgeon. The whole family was obviously in turmoil. That nine percent, that second opinion can be a real good idea.
Bob: You don’t have to go necessarily to see another doctor, just send the pathology report. I used to work at Mayo Clinic, and I saw this all the time. I remember one time they go, “Well we saw it in our scan, but we also look at it and we can see it in their scan. They were wrong.” I don’t know what it is, but there’s human error still.
Brad: The human body’s complicated.
Bob: Yeah, it is. Lung cancer is a notorious one for that. They can kind of misdiagnose as bronchitis and all that. Okay, number three, you want to immerse yourself in knowledge from reputable sites. The worst thing you can do is go on google and put in your diagnosis and you start reading things and who knows who you’re reading from. There’s a couple sites and they go over a lot of them in the book, the NIH, National Institute of Health has a site called PubMed.com. That’s all research studies and that’s a little bit more difficult for the lay person to weed through, but you know, if you start reading a lot of the studies, it starts to make sense to you, some of the verbiage they use. There are certainly other ones that are written for the lay person. Mayo Clinic has a website, just mayoclinic.com, and WebMD, I’ve found that to be a good solid site.
Brad: Just knowing if we Google and stuff for physical therapy and it’s just something written by someone who is not a therapist, doesn’t have background in it, but they have some exercise background and they’re trying to treat.
Bob: Yeah, we see some crazy stuff.
Brad: They give information on back pain and it’s like, they clearly haven’t seen patients for back pain over a period of years.
Bob: What I often see, and this is on YouTube a lot, is that someone treated their own back using a certain method and it worked, but in most of the cases that’s not going to work. In fact, it’ll probably make things worse. You want to go to reputable sources. Good luck with it. I hope things turn out great for you, thanks.
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