Would you hire a handyman to stop termites?

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By Kay Kerbyson

Having cancer is like having an infestation of termites. They come in uninvited, take over and devour all that they can. If termites were gradually eating away at your home, crumbling the foundations, crawling through your pipes, eating away at the surface, who would you call? Joe Handyman? No you’d call a professional, someone who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and removal of pest damage. Having cancer is no different.

The problem is that you’re now stepping into a totally unknown world. In the same way that there are many different professionals to take care of your home, there are multitudes of doctors and surgeons who can take care of your cancer. Most people would immediately think, “I need an oncologist ” and yes, they should always be your first stop. But for many a specialist is what they really need.

For example, if your primary care physician said your knee needing replacing, would you expect him or her to do it? In the same way, there are hundreds of cancer specialists, most likely many of whom, you’ve never even heard of. Before my diagnosis, I never knew gynecologic oncologists existed. Why would I, unless someone close had needed one? So here’s the thing, there is a specialist oncologist for pretty much every cancer you can think of.

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