Anyone “sacked” their oncologist?

Hi there, 
I just heard a wonderful ABC radio podcast by Tim Baker, who has stage four prostate cancer. He’s an author. While it might seem to have nothing to do with breast cancer, I found much of what he says resonated so strongly with me. Firstly, like some women with breast cancer, he was put on hormone therapy which resulted in big mood swings and feeling suicidally flat. He says, like me, that he was given no warning of this by his oncologist and was just handed several sheets of paper listing possible side effects. He also says that after four years of seeing his oncologist and feeling fed up with the lack of support and empathy, he sacked him and found another. I am not at that stage but I might be one day… Is this something you have contemplated too? If so, how did you find one who did more for you? 


  • arpie
    arpie Member Posts: 7,817
    edited August 2022
    Absolutely - it is essential that you have total confidence in your Onc in that they are telling you the truth (even if it hurts sometimes) & also that they are on the lookout for upgraded treatments & trials that may assist your treatment.

    I initially had a male Onc who just couldn't be bothered with me & my side effects (First appointment & he basically said 'what are you here for' .... well I thought that would have been bloody obvious if he'd bothered to even LOOK at my notes, which he didn't!)

    Luckily, a female Onc had recently started at the hospital & he was away (they are now needing a 3rd one with the increased number of  cancer patients in the rural region I live in) and I saw her & immediately requested that my case be swapped over to her.  She has just been brilliant - and when my husband was diagnosed stage 4 last year - she became his Onc as well.  (His original Onc in 2010 had the personality of a gnat & I wish in hindsight that I'd had the balls to change Oncs for him back then, too!!)

    My Rad Onc had actually mentioned this new Onc by name (as she was working with her in a different hospital/region) and her glowing assessment of her was enough for me - such a bright, positive personality as well - it was/is never a chore to see her.  And she is on top of all the current trials & tests (genome etc) that can be run, to ascertain the correct, most beneficial treatment for any type of cancer. 

    The very first appt, resulted in a change of meds from Letrozole to Exemestane .... then again 6 months later to Anastrozole, which I am tolerating MUCH better than the first 2.

    So - long & short - if you are not happy that your Onc is giving you the full benefit as you deserve - definitely ask around & try another one.

    If you add your 'town/region' to your profile - others may well know a 'good onc' in your area & be able to message you with details!  ;)  Also there may be other members nearby that you can catch up with a coffee & a chat now & then, as a mini support group!

    Take care

    Having said that - a good buddy who is also Stage 4 Prostate has been seeing my 'original onc' since 2018 and thinks the sun shines out of his bum!  But I honestly think that this particular male Onc gets on better with males than females (as another 2 of my BC buddies also swapped to my current Onc - at my suggestion!) 
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,392
    Having confidence in your oncologist is pretty important - he/she is probably going to recommend some pretty unpleasant treatment. You want to
    be able to discuss that (Why? What’s the research? What are the side effects? Can I stop? And so on) in a friendly, informative way. Unless you really want the old fashioned approach (‘just do as I say, dear’) or a combatative relationship, it’s worth making a switch to find someone who treats you like a human patient. And you can be lucky, I found one first go! 
  • StarGirl
    StarGirl Member Posts: 135
    Yes!! My first onc was an absolute knob. So glad I ditched him and found someone I actually liked and had a good rapport with. You need and deserve to have someone you like and respect and feel supported by and listened to by. Good luck xx
  • Rdc2022
    Rdc2022 Member Posts: 20
    Hi everyone, 
    Thanks for your comments. Food for thought. 
  • Zoffiel
    Zoffiel Member Posts: 3,374
    I've sacked three. You wouldn't tolerate a rude or disinterested butcher, baker or candlestick maker, so why would you pay hundreds of dollars to see someone who keeps you in the dark, doesn't listen to you and  treats you like shit?
    It's a bit of lucky dip, but you are certainly not tied to these people.
    Get rid of them and tell them why. Mxx