The ENT or oral maxillofacial surgeon you choose to treat your oral oropharyngeal cancer, can make or break your future quality-of-life. Before choosing a surgeon, be sure to get a second opinion. Know your options. You will be surprised at how different doctors can have completely different perspectives. It is based on their past experience, and their expertise, and one may be more suited to your specific condition than another.
Be prepared when you meet with your surgeon. Bring a notepad, and someone to help you take notes. Here are some questions to ask:
- How many of these surgeries do you do a year? Successful?
- How do you determine rate of growth of the tumor?
- What are my chances of survival and quality of life if I chose not to have this surgery?
- Is there a chance the cancer spread to the other side?
- What are the potential complications?
- Does a general pathologist or specialist (oral pathologist or head/neck pathologist) read the biopsy?
- Will a pathologist be available during my surgery to make sure you get clean margins?
- Can my cancer recur?
- How often will I see you to make sure it doesn’t return?
What other questions would you ask? Let’s get a dialogue going!