A cancer diagnosis is life-changing. Choosing an oncologist is your first step to navigating this journey. They are vital in recommending and providing the treatments and services needed to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Here are three key tips to help you find the right oncologist for you.

1. Start with basic research.

Ask your primary care doctor for a referral, or more specifically, “Who would you recommend to a family member?”

You’ll want to make sure the oncologist you’re considering has ample training, experience and positive patient reviews. Healthgrades.com, state websites and Google are helpful.

2. Ask questions in advance:

• How soon can you see me and start treatment?

• How many patients have you treated with my type of cancer?

• Will I be able to receive all the care I need at this location?

• Do you encourage family members/caregivers to participate in appointments?

• Will I have the opportunity to participate in clinical trials?

• What other emotional or social support services are available?

3. Consider little things that make a big difference.

Notice communication style. How do they greet you and respond to questions? Do they provide clear answers you understand? Do they show an interest in you as a person, and will they consider your treatment preferences?

Ask if they have an experienced team member to assist with understanding the expected cost of treatment and what your insurance will cover.

Also, cancer treatment can take a long time, with multiple appointments, so finding a location close to home is important. Think about the ease of parking and if it’s a space where you feel comfortable.

You’re well on your way to meeting a qualified oncologist who will help you through your cancer journey.

Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute believes patients should have access to comprehensive care and clinical trials without the burden of long-distance travel. Its nationally ranked doctors care for patients with all forms of cancer and blood disorders. It brings the newest and most advanced cancer therapies — some not yet available elsewhere — to communities across Florida, including Brandon.

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