Every journey has a few dark alleys. These are spots where you are unable to see what is ahead of you, and therefore, unable to judge if you are safe or not.
Dark alleys usually fill us with apprehension as we are used to thinking and planning ahead in our everyday lives. Not knowing or understanding the situation we are in can cause anxiety in most of us.
One of the dark alleys of cancer treatment is the treatment plan itself. As a caregiver or a patient, you have very little understanding as to why a certain treatment has been chosen for you and if it is the right one.
Several caregivers end up wondering if they are on the best treatment course and whether there are other options at all, particularly when they do not see sufficient progress over time or if the side-effects become unmanageable.
If you are not an oncologist, your knowledge of which treatments, drugs or procedures are best suited for your particular case is minimal. Even after scouring the internet, you are none the wiser.
Finding the right treatment
What do you do in a situation where the right treatment at the right time can be the difference between success and failure?
This was the precise situation faced by Reshma N* of Chattisgarh, when she began treatment for cervical cancer.
She had consulted a medical oncologist who had selected chemotherapy as the first line of treatment for her.
Fortunately, she had also consulted Onco.com’s internal panel of oncologists for a second opinion. On considering all details of the case, the panel was certain that radiation therapy should be the first line of treatment for Reshma.
The panel then contacted her treating team of oncologists and over a conference call they explained why they felt radiation therapy should be started first, and not chemotherapy. After the conversation, Reshma’s treating medical oncologist agreed that the panel was right and so the treatment course was changed immediately.
Reshma is now undergoing radiation therapy at the same hospital where she was being treated earlier. She has also been provided with a diet plan and continued treatment advice from her care manager at Onco.com.
Without the help of the expert panel. Reshma had no way of knowing if her treatment was the right one or what other (better) options were available to her.
They say ‘knowledge is power’ and when it comes to cancer treatment who can be more knowledgeable than an expert team of oncologists from all treatment modalities (medical, surgical and radiation) to oversee your treatment to ensure the maximum chance of recovery.
Finding the right oncologist
When Manohar D* of Bihar called Onco.com to find the best oncologist for him, he had already been diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer. After finding the best doctors for his type of cancer and also checking for proximity to his location, he was given a list of the best options available to him.
Manohar then chose to seek a second opinion from a famous trust fund hospital in his city. He had the option of seeking treatment at this trust fund hospital which would be more economical for him.
However, he chose to go with Onco.com’s suggested hospital as his experience with the care and expertise at this hospital was far greater. He felt like he was a part of his treatment as he was explained the procedures and their purpose beforehand. This gave him more clarity and reduced his anxiety, thus bringing him out of a dark alley, and into the light.
For most cancer patients and their families, the treating oncologist becomes a guiding light, helping them gain confidence in their treatment and leading them to faster recovery. It becomes important for the patient to feel a sense of confidence and trust in his oncologist.
Finding the right oncologist who can guide the family through this difficult phase becomes crucial. The location of the oncologist also plays an important role, particularly at a time when the fear of infection during travel is lurking in our minds.
With a network of 1500+ oncologists across India and the US, the patient’s chances of finding the right fit when it comes to their treating team is much higher with a platform like Onco.com.
Finding help in an emergency
The family of Balaji* of Gurgaon found themselves in a tough situation at 8:30pm on a Saturday during this COVID-19 pandemic. Balaji was suffering from blood cancer and was in a lot of pain.
The caregiver was unable to explain where exactly the pain was or the reason for it. They just knew that the pain was unbearable for him and immediate medical care was required.
With most oncologists having reduced their visiting hours at hospitals at this time, they were struggling to get the right treatment at this hour.
They contacted Onco.com who immediately reached out to a cancer hospital close to them. The hospital managed to provide expert medical care immediately, and even took the mandatory COVID-19 test on the spot.
Half an hour is all it took for Balaji to receive the medical attention he required. For his caregivers, this timely assistance was invaluable as they really had no clue what to do at that dark hour.
Be it connecting you with the right oncologist, or ensuring that your treatment follows the right track, these cancer patients and their families have benefitted from connecting with Onco.com. Additionally, having a nutritionist and a psychologist to consult with regularly has improved their quality of life, ensuring their complete satisfaction.
* Only the names have been changed to protect the identity of the patients