Patient Commando responds to Dr. Zeichner’s post on KevinMD.com

Earlier this month KevinMD.com posted the following article by Dr. Joshua Zeichner, a dermatologist at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

The best defense against skin cancer is prevention. Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States, affecting more than 2 million Americans every year.  It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop a skin cancer in their lifetime.

There are three main types of skin cancer.  Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, which can be fatal if not treated early.   While melanoma accounts for a very small percentage of skin cancers, it is responsible for the majority of skin cancer related deaths.  Survival of patients with melanoma is directly correlated to the size of the cancer.  If the spot is detected early, before it has spread from the skin, more than 90% of patients will be cured.  This drops to approximately 15% once the cancer has spread.  The number of new cases of melanoma is rising faster than most of the other internal types of cancer, so public education is of the utmost importance.

The other two common skin cancers are collectively known a non-melanoma skin cancer.  The most common skin cancer in [...] continue the story

I don’t trust my GP to manage my cancer follow-up | Globe and Mail Q&A

The question: I’m in treatment for early-stage breast cancer. When it’s done, I’ll be sent to my general practitioner, whom I have little faith in. I’ve had excellent, patient-focused care from medical staff treating my cancer. Should I find a new doctor or stick with this one who, for better or worse, at least knows my history?

The answer: Given the background information you gave me on your GP – reluctant to order tests, not a good listener, dismissive – you are right to be concerned. I’ve seen how well oncologists advocate for their patients; your fondness for them is well placed.

A study published this year in the journal Current Oncology found that 87 per cent of early stage breast cancer patients surveyed in Ontario preferred to visit their cancer specialist for routine follow-up.

Like you, most cancer patients in Canada are sent back to their GPs. So long as a follow-up plan is in place, it’s the best way to provide good quality, cost-effective care.

Sandy Sehdev, a medical oncologist at William Osler Health System in Brampton, Ont., said cases such as yours can result from a patient feeling that the GP did not act rapidly on a lump. Other patients don’t [...] continue the story