Straight Talk about Mesothelioma, a blog series created by Michael T. Milano, M.D., Ph.D., a radiation oncology specialist, as a resource for mesothelioma patients and their loved ones.
You may have some anxiety in anticipation of your first appointment with a mesothelioma specialist. That’s understandable. But take comfort knowing that the specialist is just that — a doctor who is specially trained, at a very high level, to tackle just your kind of illness. While there is still no cure for all but the earliest stages of this aggressive cancer, there are an increasing number of treatments available, and research to find a cure is ongoing.
Try to think of your first meeting with a mesothelioma specialist as a positive, proactive way of managing your health. There will be many details your specialist will want to review with you at that first visit. Here are several things you can do in advance to make sure the first meeting with your specialist is a productive one.
- Call the specialist’s office and ask directly what you should do in advance of your visit. Some physicians, for example, may ask you to restrict your diet, or to cease any forms of exercise.
- Gather your medical records. Include a list of all medications you are currently taking, or have taken recently.
- Enlist a friend or loved one to come to the appointment with you. In addition to the comfort and support a friend or family member can offer, it can be invaluable to have another person in the room to take notes and act as an extra set of ears.
- Make a list of all your questions. Your specialist may not be able to answer all of them at the first appointment, but your list will help your medical care team begin to address any concerns you may have.
- Familiarize yourself with the location of the office. The last thing you want is to get lost on the way to this important appointment. Consider driving the route in advance to get comfortable with the directions. Be sure to check out the parking options.
- Make sure your health insurance is in order. Mesothelioma treatments can be costly. You want to be sure your health insurance, Medicare and, if applicable, Medicaid accounts are all up to date.
- Try to relax. Your mesothelioma specialist and your entire healthcare team will partner with you on your healthcare journey every step of the way.
Next article in this series: “Your First Office Visit”