I would invest in extra initial blood testing
, even though it is most useful and sensitive starting before
In my opinion, what rp1954 suggests is very important and is time-sensitive -- i.e., there is a window of opportunity when you can do a few things that can make a big difference in the long term. Often, that window-of-opportunity is at the very beginning of the journey, i.e., before active treatment ever begins -- i.e., during the period of time when a newly diagnosed patient is not ordinarily thinking of taking an assertive or pro-active position vis-à-vis the overall problem.
The link given above in rp1954's post is a good example:
For example, after DX and before any kind of treatment is done, the CEA tumor marker should be done in order to establish a baseline value. If it is not done before interventions are started, then the opportunity to have a reference baseline is lost forever. And there are many other examples like this. And some of these things, for whatever reason, might be overlooked by the medical staff who are handling your case.
I guess what I am saying is this: You have two weeks before your meeting with the oncologist. There are some things that you could be doing during these two weeks that could very well be considered long-term investments in your future. Just waiting around for the next round of test results to come in, or waiting for the next appointment date to be finalized don't count, as they are essentially passive activities and they don't change much of anything. What you need to do is to be more proactive as your treatment plan is unfolding.
There are other things that you could be doing that are more pro-active -- for example, checking up on the credentials of all the doctors
that have been assigned to you so far, and making an effort to find better ones if the current ones do not have a good record. You can get second opinions
on reports, analyses and tests that have been done by your doctors and you may find that there are other doctors out there who have a better grasp of your situation. And you can even decide that you are going to change doctors.
It's the same for hospitals, clinics and other health care institutions. There are accreditation standards established for hospitals that can be checked out. In the case of cancer treatment, there is a three-tier structure of accreditation, with the highest being NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers
, of which there are 69 in the US located in 35 different states. Below that are the hospitals accredited simply as "Cancer Centers" and below that are all of the unaccredited hospitals. Thus, at the very beginning the patient should take a serious look at the hospital, clinic that has been chosen It may not be the best one that could be lined up. Generally speaking, the best hospital, if you can manage it, would be a high-volume comprehensive cancer center with a number of Board Certified colorectal surgeons, Board Certified radiology oncologists, and Board Certified medical oncologists.