The majority of people diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (bone marrow cancer) or Acute Myeloid Leukemia are fifty-five years old or older, as am I. As a result, we are from a generation who generally hold the people in white coats and are called doctors in very high regard. I mean, if they are a doctor they must know what they are talking about, right? And they know everything, don’t they?
Unfortunately this is not always the case. It isn’t necessarily that your oncologist is a bad doctor, but the new treatments for these cancers are advancing so rapidly that most general oncologists cannot keep up. They only have so much time in a day between seeing patients and doing paperwork that they can hardly stay up-to-the-minute with all the new info coming out on these cancers.
Unless you are sure that your oncologist is staying current with all the new diagnostic and treatment options, you need to find a doctor that specializes in your type of cancer. It really is your responsibility to look out for yourself.
A GREAT source of information on everything about Multiple Myeloma is the International Myeloma Foundation (www.myeloma.org). They have a huge number of support groups across the country. They also have a hotline where you can get a reference for the specialist nearest to you.
If you are fighting Leukemia, the best organization to find help is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (www.lls.org).
I cannot stress this enough – make sure you have the best doctor possible working with you. You have to be assertive about this or you might very well pay the price with your life. I know that sounds melodramatic, but it is true. You only get one shot, and you don’t want to waste it with someone who is not well versed in your specific cancer and all the new and ever-changing treatment options.