Cancer treatment centers versus traditional outpatient care?
June 7, 2009 2:21 PM Subscribe
Does anyone have experience with Cancer Treatment Centers of America (their TV commercials are on all over) versus traditional outpatient care with a team of doctors? Plus, additional questions regarding being a caretaker from a distance. Specific details inside.
posted by cyniczny to health & fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My mother (64 years old, 1+ pack per day smoker) was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (stage IIIa) in December, 2008. One tumor plus two lymph nodes all confined to one side of her chest. A treatment plan of radiation/chemo was prescribed with a possibility of surgery to follow.
Mid-way through treatment, she was told she wasn't a surgical candidate (not completely sure why since I wasn't at that appointment) and was told she would be given a "revised" plan where they would follow up her initial treatment with a "stronger" combo of radiation/chemo for three additional weeks.
She finished all of that, and was scheduled for a CT scan after six weeks to check on everything. No MRIs, CTs or other scans took place during any of her treatment. She got the CT scan about 10 days ago and it showed that the tumor had reduced 50% and one of the two lymph nodes appeared to be "ok" now (for lack of a better way to describe).
The PET scan was just this past Friday where it was discovered that she is cancer free in the areas treated (original tumor and lymph nodes) but that the cancer has metastized to her femur (in the bone) and near her collar bone and esophagus areas, new cancerous lymph nodes have been found. Obviously, this is devastating. Getting past my questions about why it's spread when chemo supposedly goes throughout the body, we need a plan B.
I'm looking into cancer centers for a more "whole body" approach versus what my mom did last time, which was work during 80% of the treatment. Also, since I'm a caregiver from a distance (read: 3 hour plane ride) I'm trying to find the best way to help with other issues like a work leave without pay, applying for disability, medicare, etc. My mom lives alone, has used up all of her FMLA time and all of her sick time and has no money.
So my questions are:
#1 - Does anyone have any experiences with CTCA or other cancer centers?
#2 - What would be the best bet for trying to help with the insurance, disability, leaves, etc. I have POA over her, but quite frankly, don't even know where to start.
I know this is a dump of a lot of information, but I wanted to include some of the back story to help paint the picture of what we've experienced.
Any and all information, suggestions, advice is welcome. Please note that I realize that none of you are my doctors or her doctors and you're not giving medical and/or legal advice. Thanks in advance for all experiences shared.