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Need a second opinion

GrowlcatGrowlcat Member Posts: 3
edited December 2019 in General discussion
Not sure whether this post will be allowed, but I'm not happy with the surgeon I was referred to and I would like to get a second opinion. Is it possible to see reviews and recommendations online anywhere here? Just in case it's OK to ask, I'm looking for someone in Northern Sydney - possibly who goes to Macquarie Uni, RNSH or the SAN. I'm really surprised that there isn't anything here already
Thank you


  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,249
    edited December 2019
    Hi @Growlcat  - welcome to the blog - sorry to see you 'join the club' - but with all our collective experiences with BC - I reckon we should be able to help you with pretty well any query that you may have!!

    You aren't the first who hasn't jelled with their surgeon or oncologist ..... I swapped Oncs midstream.

    I thought I'd found something like 

    When I was diagnosed - as I am rural - my GP gave me the name of 2 Sydney Breast Cancer surgeons - a female with a very high profile with 'the stars' in the North Sydney area and a guy who works out of Westmead & Norwest Lakeview Private Hospital - also head of the Breast Surgery at Westmead & associate professor, up with all the latest breast conserving techniques.  

    After googling the lady, I decided she was not for me, from comments by other people - and went with my surgeon, Dr James French.  If you click on my name, you can read my basic 'story'.  I was very happy with him & his surgery results.  He is a very personable guy & easy to talk with.  He did a mini 'reconstruct' on me at the same time.  I am not sure if he works in the Public sector tho, as I had mine done privately & whilst it DID cost a bit even tho I had private health cover - I was informed of most of the costs up front.

    All the best with your decision making - I hope you find a good one.   All the best for your surgery as well xx
  • ZoffielZoffiel Regional VictoriaMember Posts: 3,337
    Hi @Growlcat recommendations for surgeons can be a bit of a worry as the site isn't supposed to promote any businesses--and breast surgeons are certainly businesses.
    As far as changing is concerned, more people should. And they should tell those they are sacking why they are being dismissed--it actually is all about us and anyone who thinks otherwise deserves to have their income docked :)
  • GrowlcatGrowlcat Member Posts: 3
    Thanks arpie for your comment. I did end up going to James French and found him very friendly. I ended up choosing him for my surgery after recommendations from a number of different people. I have no complaints and I'm just about to go back for my one-year follow up with him.
    Just for interest, the first surgeon I saw wanted to perform a double mastectomy, because I had dense breasts. That was really her only reason. When I seemed a bit reluctant to do this (the cancer they found was slow-growing and only 1mm in size) she seemed quite annoyed with me.
    Dr French suggested a lumpectomy (wide local excision he called it) and thank goodness I went with that. There was NO more cancer - it had all been removed in the original biopsy!
    Imagine if I'd hade both breasts removed and I'd got those results!
    However, it costs a lot of money to get a second opinion! Each initial specialist visit was $250 and I got only $70 back from Medicare each time. I was lucky that I could afford to spend the money, but there must be plenty of people out there who can't and end up going with the first specialist they see.
    I also later read that less experienced breast surgeons tend to perform more mastectomies because it's easier to do than try to reshape a breast after a lumpectomy.
    I hope someone else finds my comments helpful.

  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 6,249
    I am so pleased you are happy with your results after surgery with Dr French @Growlcat   They used to do mastectomies straight up until a couple of decades ago .... with dense breast tissue, as I have too, we just need to be extra vigilant from now on tho.  

    For your annual checkups, some ‘tick sheets’ to help you put your questions together for your medical team. (Click the docs at the bottom) and highlight the questions you want to cover.

    yes, I reckon I was about $7-8,000 out of pocket all up with continuing ‘gaps’ .... I even had to pay $500 f my pathology, which surprised me!

    take care and all the best for your yearly checkup xx
  • Dory65Dory65 Member Posts: 323
    Wow! Thanks for that feedback @Growlcat. Great that you had the self-confidence to trust your instincts. When I had to have breast surgery, I asked my trusted GP who she would go to. Glad I did. Not confident in public health oncologist I was given, though. I procrastinate about changing, as I don't know if it'll be an improvement or the reverse. Out of interest, are there any oncology recommendations from public patients on NSW Central Coast? Use the private message if worried about using names. Thanks. L xxx
  • Dory65Dory65 Member Posts: 323
    p.s. any oncology specialist recommendations private or public NSW Central Coast? 
  • FLCloverFLClover Sydney Member Posts: 1,443
    Hello @Growlcat,
    I wish I’d seen your post earlier, and I’m so happy you wrote it as I had a similar experience. I wasn’t happy with first surgeon, but was made to believe a second opinion would cost me too much for surgery fees (by bc nurse),and so to stick with first surgeon. However, he didn’t inform me enough about anything and there was no compassion or empathy. I also had no choice in any decisions and no options other than what he wanted (found out later I was right and there were def more). That was at the beginning of it all, when I was still petrified and confused by the whole thing, so I ended up going into deep depression. It was the worst time of my life. I’ve never felt so hopeless. It was only after I found my new surgeon, through this site, that I started to get better and eventually went back to my strong and confident self. I still have PTSD though and am seeing a psychologist. 
    As @Zoffiel said: “As far as changing is concerned, more people should. And they should tell those they are sacking why they are being dismissed--it actually is all about us and anyone who thinks otherwise deserves to have their income docked .”
    Could NOT have said it better myself!!!! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻.
    At a time when a mountain crumbles on top of us, we really do need a medical team who will be compassionate, empathetic and supportive. Anything less than that, especially at the fees charged, is simply not acceptable. Our medical team can either make us or break us. And I know which I’d choose. 
    I know this site doesn’t allow names, but I feel like there should be a site where we can recommend or name and shame surgeons, because I’ve realised it’s the only way to know who is good. Google reviews are unreliable, and GPs work with a small number of specialists, not always good ones. My GP didn’t give me my current surgeon’s name even after I asked for more recommendations when I was unhappy with first one. Thank goodness 🙏🏻 for this site, where I found my current one, who should be a benchmark for surgeons!! 
    I feel like we definitely need a better way at choosing who gets access to our bodies, and subsequently our souls, at such a crucial time for us 🍀♥️
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