What is an Oncology consultation?
You would get a referral to a medical oncologist, a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer, if your primary care physician suspects that your symptoms are suggestive of cancer. This is the essence of an oncology consultation.
During the course of your oncology consultation, you are likely to be seen by several specialists including a radiation oncologist and a surgical oncologist while your primary care physician and medical oncologist remain your primary doctors.
How is an oncology consultation done?
At the start of your oncology consultation, your oncologist would ask about your symptoms, how and when they began, the tests you had conducted before presenting to them, and what medications you had been taking.
You should have all the medications with you on your first consultation and copies of the results of all the tests you had done including imaging studies. You may need to have some of them repeated too.
It is advisable to be accompanied by a family member or any loved one, because it might be uncomfortable and emotional having to respond to some of the questions your doctor might ask you.
After reviewing your test results, your doctor may recommend further tests, if necessary, to confirm a diagnosis of cancer or exclude it. In any case, your oncologist would give you a diagnosis.
The oncologist would give you enough room to ask all your questions and voice out your concerns. So it is advisable for you to have all your questions written down before you go for an oncology consultation.
After all necessary tests have been done and reviewed by your oncologist and cancer has been confirmed, they would inform you about the prognosis, stage, and type of cancer you have, and the best treatment plan for you.
If the cancer is incurable, your oncologist would provide you with an appropriate treatment plan to improve your quality of life, lower the cancer symptoms, and delay its progression.
Overall, you would need to prepare yourself mentally for whatever would come of your first oncology consultation. It is always emotionally and psychologically depressing to be informed of a cancer diagnosis, however, your mental response to this diagnosis may make or mar your quality of life living with the disease.
If cancer has been confirmed, you would need emotional support from your loved ones. This would go a long way in promoting a positive outlook on the situation.
Summarily, you should expect from you oncology consultation a confirmation or elimination of a cancer diagnosis, what stage the cancer is in, and how well it can be treated or managed.
What are the possible complications of an oncology consultation?
An oncology consultation is not an actual procedure but may have a few risks, one of which is a false positive cancer diagnosis. This risk is rare because oncologist try to double check all indices before pronouncing a definitive diagnosis, however, wrong information and false test results may lead to a false diagnosis.