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#148582 - 04/20/12 08:42 PM ENT or residency clinic?? Can't decide...
honeybee77 Offline

Registered: 04/17/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Missouri, USA
It's me again. I so deeply appreciate everyone's help on this forum.

I am working on moving forward with a biopsy but am determined to see someone with LOTS of experience in OC. Which brings me to my current dilemma.

I found a wonderful ENT at a hospital about 2 hours from me (Washington U School of Med in St. Louis). He comes highly recommended and has so many sub-specialties that my head is still spinning. One of them is OC of course.

When I called to make the appointment, they asked what insurance I have. The young gentleman was VERY nice but when I said I do not have any, he said I really should consider making my appointment with the residency clinic instead. He said the residency clinic will work with me based on income whereas the ENT himself will need payment for all tests upfront, and I could be looking at thousands just with a biopsy.

I feel so confused that I can't decide what to do!!! I really wanna see the main Dr and feel doubtful about the residency clinic. Am I just being paranoid?? He insisted (he could tell I was indecisive) that any doctor I saw in the residency clinic would be just as qualified to handle things as the main dr's, that I would be in excellent hands, and that they'd be able to work with me on payment.

I keep going back & forth... Feeling completely stuck. I finally asked, "Well, if I make my consultation with the main dr & he feels extensive testing is needed, can he just then refer me to the residency clinic for the work/testing?" He said he'd never been asked that question before and he wasn't sure if that would be possible.

I'm so freaked out & scared silly of making a wrong choice. Ugh, any suggestions? Thanks in advance. I feel helpless.

#148584 - 04/20/12 10:21 PM Re: ENT or residency clinic?? Can't decide... [Re: honeybee77]
ChristineB Offline
Administrator, Director of Patient Support Services
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 06/23/07
Posts: 9435
Loc: PA
I understand your reservations about your finances. Be very cautious with this decision. You need the very best care that you can get if you need treatments --- regardless of cost or location. You cant beat experience!

IF (you dont know yet so its a huge IF at this point) you have cancer you dont need to waste weeks making this decision. Where you get treated is very important. It can mean the difference between life and death. Cancer is so much easier to treat when it is found in the early stages. However, I have seen Stage I patients pass away while some Stage IV will survive (myself included).

Bottom line... get the biopsy done right away so you can know if you have cancer or something that is no big deal. After you know then you can make the big decisions, that is IF you have to do anything else. Its NOT cancer til the biopsy says it is.
SCC 6/15/07 L chk & by L molar both Stag I, age44
2x cispltn-35 IMRT end 9/27/07, no caregiver
Clear PET 1/08
4/4/08 recur L chk Stag I
surg 4/16/08 clr marg
215 HBO dives
3/09 teeth out, trismus
7/2/09 recur, Stg IV
8/24/09 trach, ND, mandiblctmy
3wks medicly inducd coma
2 mo extended hospital stay, ICU & burn unit
PICC line w/ IV antibiotics 8 mo
10/4/10, 2/14/11 reconst surg
OC 3 times in 3 years
very happy to be alive smile

#148585 - 04/20/12 10:44 PM Re: ENT or residency clinic?? Can't decide... [Re: ChristineB]
EricS Offline
Patient Advocate (1000+ posts)

Registered: 01/03/09
Posts: 1844
Loc: Idaho
We see this often enough on these forums, people see something in their mouths or feel a lump and convince themselves it's cancer. They let fear and anxiety completely take over and lose any sense that they may have been blessed with.

This is going to sound harsh, but this is me smackin you upside the head and telling you to pull it together sister. If you end up not having cancer (and believe me there are so many other things it could be) you're going to stress yourself into a stroke or a mental breakdown.

This isn't hard, so stop making it that way. You have an area in your mouth that you are concerned about..."any" ENT can biopsy (hell an Oral Surgeon can too) and send the samples to a pathology lab and get it confirmed or denied. It literally is the easiest thing to get why make it tougher than it is?

Pull yourself together, get a biopsy, and then let us know what else we can do from there. None of us can help you until we know what you're dealing with and the next step "only you" can take. Now, that's me being as direct as I can be. Don't take offense, take the advice and move forward with it.

My only other advice I would say is find someone to get an anti-anxiety med prescribed or ask a hippie friend for some weed (ingest or vaporize, never smoke!) or I'm laying odds you stroke out before you ever see a Dr.

Edited by EricS (04/20/12 10:46 PM)
Edit Reason: always spelling
Young Frack, SCC T4N2M0, Cisplatin,35+ rads,ND, RT Mandiblectomy w fibular free flap, facial paralysis, "He who has a "why" to live can bear with almost any "how"." -Nietzche "WARNING" PG-13 due to Sarcasm & WAY too much attitude, interact at your own risk.

#148586 - 04/20/12 11:06 PM Re: ENT or residency clinic?? Can't decide... [Re: EricS]
honeybee77 Offline

Registered: 04/17/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Missouri, USA
Thank you both for your quick responses.

Eric, no offense taken. And I've actually already gotten some anti-anxiety meds; obviously they haven't fully kicked in yet!

Anyway, I'm scheduling the apt first thing in the morning. If this guy assures me the residency clinic is just as capable of taking care of me, I'm just going to have to trust that as gospel truth.

Thanks again & best regards to everyone here, always.

#148589 - 04/20/12 11:37 PM Re: ENT or residency clinic?? Can't decide... [Re: honeybee77]
zengalib Offline
Platinum Member (300+ posts)

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 493
Loc: NW Ohio
Hey, queenbee,
My biopsy was done by an oral surgeon, who then referred me to an ENT when my cancer was confirmed. Remember, it isn't cancer until the biopsy says it's cancer, so let's hope for the best. If it is cancer, we will all be here for you. Good luck and God bless you.
Female, nonsmoker, 70, diag. 5/09 after tongue biopsy: stage IV. Left hemi-gloss. and left selec. neck disec. 30 lymph nodes removed May 20. Over 7 weeks daily rads. with three chemo. PEG removed 12/4/09 Am eating mostly soft foods. Back to work 11/09 Retired 4/1/11. 7 clear scans! Port out 9/11. 2/13. It's back: base of tongue, very invasive
surgery involving lifestyle changes. 2/14: Now speaking w/Passey-Muir valve. Considering a swallow study. Grateful to be alive.

#148592 - 04/21/12 12:44 AM Re: ENT or residency clinic?? Can't decide... [Re: zengalib]
honeybee77 Offline

Registered: 04/17/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Missouri, USA
Thank you so much!

Kindest regards,

#148597 - 04/21/12 02:41 AM Re: ENT or residency clinic?? Can't decide... [Re: honeybee77]
Cheryld Offline
"OCF Canuck"
Patient Advocate (old timer, 2000 posts)

Registered: 12/22/10
Posts: 5260
Loc: Toronto canada
Yup - anyone can do a biopsy provided they get the correct area, if it comes back cancer then you do the ENT thing... It's sad when a dr. Puts cash ahead of a patient though.
Cheryl : Irritation - 2004 BX: 6/2008 : Inflam. BX: 12/10, DX: 12/10 : SCC - LS tongue well dif. T2N1M0. 2/11 hemigloss + recon. : PND - 40 nodes - 39 clear. 3/11 - 5/11 IMRT 33 + cis x2, PEG 3/28/11 - 5/19/11 3 head, 2 chest scans - clear(fingers crossed) HPV-, No smoke, drink, or drugs, Vegan

#148611 - 04/21/12 04:52 PM Re: ENT or residency clinic?? Can't decide... [Re: Cheryld]
MissBazinet Offline
Supporting Member (50+ posts)

Registered: 03/16/12
Posts: 50
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
I had an oral surgeon do my biopsy. When he called with the news I immediately scheduled an appointment with my family doctor who then referred me to an ENT who was also a cancer specialist. I just had such a rapport with my family practitioner and not so much with the oral surgeon that I valued and trusted her opinion more.

Female,28 yrs old,Non-Smoker/Social Drinker
T3 N1 M0 SCC Dx 11-10-11
11-23-11 Left Hemiglossectomy
11-30-11 Modified Radical Neck Dissection
01-25-12 Removed another spot on BOT, skin graft (left thigh)
38 RADS Tx Finished April 13, 2012
Living life in spite of cancer and not in fear of it!

#148635 - 04/22/12 07:27 PM Re: ENT or residency clinic?? Can't decide... [Re: MissBazinet]
honeybee77 Offline

Registered: 04/17/12
Posts: 13
Loc: Missouri, USA
Thank you all for your input. I can't say how much it means to me that complete strangers are here to help & offer advice.

Hope you all have had a great weekend.

Best regards!


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