Choosing Your Provider

If you or a loved one have been newly diagnosed with cancer, deciding where to seek treatment can seem overwhelming.

dr. salman haroon, oncologist, meeting with a female cancer patientChoosing the right oncologist at the right facility is one of the most important decisions you will make. It is important that you make informed choices, taking an active role in order to regain some sense of control.

You should feel confident that your oncologist is the best choice for you. The physicians of Nebraska Cancer Specialists are some of the most experienced and highly qualified in the area.

Nebraska Cancer Specialists has received QOPI certification consistent with the highest standards of care. This recognition speaks to the standard of care our patients can expect and makes Nebraska Cancer Specialists the largest QOPI certified practice in the region. Along with our friendly, caring staff, our warm and inviting atmosphere helps you and your family manage cancer treatment in comfort.

Your care at Nebraska Cancer Specialists will not only be in the hands of the physician, but our entire team, including support staff, nurses and medical assistants. Our convenient locations allow you to receive treatment close to home. Our free standing cancer centers in West Omaha and Papillion allow for parking at the door, as does our Fremont location at Fremont Health. Our Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center offers complimentary valet parking.

What is an Oncologist?

dr. stephen tarantolo is an oncologist and hematologist An Oncology specialist is a physician who focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of different cancers. This physician has extensive knowledge of the different signs and symptoms of cancer, as well as the various methods of treatment. An oncologist is a physician who trained in internal medicine before becoming a cancer specialist.The oncologist you choose will be your first point of contact, and will guide you through your journey with cancer. He or she will be your primary care physician during your cancer treatment, and it is of utmost importance that you are comfortable and confident in their decision making. Your oncologist, with others, will:
1. Determine the tests needed to make a final treatment decision with you 2. Prescribe and oversee your treatment 3. Direct the follow-up tests needed to determine the next steps

Are they Board Certified or eligible?

All physicians are licensed to ensure a general competency to diagnose and treat patients. Those who have chosen to specialize in a particular disease receive significant additional training. Once they have achieved a certain level of proficiency, physicians are eligible to be certified by a national organization, for example the American Board of Internal Medicine, which ensures consistent high quality care. Board Certification, or eligibility for Board Certification, means that your doctor has achieved adept training in the complexities of medical oncology.

After three years of internal medicine training, an extra two or three years of cancer training and education are required in order to be Board Eligible. A designation of “Board Certified” indicates your physician has intensified his studies, and successfully completed examinations for this distinctive certification.

How much experience do they have treating my type of disease?

Most oncologists have proficient experience in treating common cancers. Should your specific cancer be uncommon or rare, you should feel comfortable asking if and how the medical oncologist will consult and collaborate with other physicians and oncologists to guarantee you receive the most up-to-date and effective treatments for your specific disease.

How do they partner with other health team members?

Tumor boards are a treatment planning approach in which medical oncologists discuss cases in detail with surgical, radiation, pathology and other specialists. Ask your doctor if he participates in tumor boards. Discuss how your care will be coordinated with your primary care physician and other specialists that you see.

Do they welcome second opinions?

A physician who is confident in their treatment recommendation will normally welcome second opinions, and be open to the request. Occasionally, an oncologist might suggest a second opinion from a fellow colleague with exceptional experience in treating a specific tumor.

How well does the oncologist listen to you, and how comfortable do you feel with the responses?

You should feel comfortable with your oncologist and feel that he or she listens and respects your opinions. How does the oncologist respond to questions or requests for clarification? You want to be sure you feel comfortable and completely understand the information your oncologist is providing during your cancer journey.