We know that the search for the “right” or “best” lung cancer surgeon is not an easy one. There are so many possible branching options and different definitions as to what makes for the optimal surgeon, that the patient, with so much already on his or her plate, might despair and settle too quickly. A few simple steps can guide your search for the correct lung cancer surgeon on the right path.
Resources at Your Fingertips
As long as you’ve already turned to the web for tips and advice, you might as well make the most out of the information it has to offer. Wading through the search results that come up in your investigation of lung cancer is a huge task; here are a few points to help you start out.
First, many societies and organizations devoted to surgical oncologists maintain websites that the public can browse. For example, the Society of Surgical Oncologists and the American Society of Clinical Oncology offer a broad base of members to browse through. If you want a bit more of the work done for you, however, try browsing groups such as the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, where you can view members by name or by the location of practice.
Another less reliable but often interesting alternative is to check online message boards and forums. As a place where anyone can express an opinion, you should approach browsing such sites with a healthy dose of skepticism. Obviously, comments and anecdotes will be highly subjective, sometimes questionable, and expressed in most cases by people with as little or no medical knowledge. But while these factors should keep you on your toes, they can also be a boon. After all, these are patients may be similar to you, and their perspective on surgeons and operations are likely to predict your own.
It’s always a good idea to do some research by yourself before you delve into actively contacting surgeons. But once you have a general set of ideas, asking for advice can be a nice counterbalance. Go out and seek the opinions of those you trust, whether they are professionals or close friends and family.
In the final stages of searching for a lung cancer surgeon, it’s time to do some comparison shopping. With your short list of potential surgeons all drawn out, weigh each one’s credentials, reputation, and experience. A number of factors can contribute to your surgeon’s likelihood of completing a successful operation, and these include everything from the school he or she attended to the technology he or she favors. Be a proactive consumer—ask questions, and ask as many as you can think of. During your first consultation with a surgeon, get a clear idea of his or her background as well as a feel for his or her general approach to lung cancer. Then switch gears and consult yet another surgeon—a second opinion will help delineate the difference between two possible contenders.