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Finding a Doctor

There are many types of cancer and different ways to treat cancer. Choose doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers with experience treating the type of cancer you have. This may make you better off.

How do I find a doctor?

If you know or think that you have cancer, you will need to find a doctor who can treat you. There are several ways to find a doctor who is good at cancer care.

Your primary doctor may give you a referral. The National Cancer Institute also can help you find a doctor to treat your cancer.

Note: If you have Medicare and cancer, make sure you choose a doctor or specialist who takes Medicare. Ask if he or she accepts Medicare assignment. This means he or she will not charge you more than Medicare approves for the service they give you. You will only have to pay your Medicare copayment or coinsurance. This will save you money. If you see a doctor who does not accept Medicare assignment, you might have to pay extra costs.

A doctor or other provider who accepts Medicare assignment cannot bill you for the difference between what Medicare approves and his or her charges. This is illegal.

You can use Medicare.gov to find a doctor, hospital, or other facility that accepts Medicare assignment.

How do I find a cancer treatment center?

To get the best medical care possible for your cancer, choose your treatment center carefully. You may not be able to choose which hospital treats you in an emergency. But you can choose a center for your regular care.

The government has named some hospitals and health care organizations as excelling in treating certain conditions. These are called centers of excellence. The National Cancer Institute has named the top centers treating cancer in the U.S. These are called designated cancer centers.

Choosing who will treat you is an important and personal decision. The National Cancer Institute's designated cancer centers are among the best at treating cancer. They have the latest technology and know-how, and they can access wide resources. This may help you. Yet, you may have to weigh that against:

  • How close the cancer center is
  • Costs of being away from your home, such as travel, hotels and food
  • Time away from work or loved ones
  • Your comfort level with your doctor and his staff

If you have already found a doctor, you may need to use a center where he or she practices. Your doctor may recommend a center. The National Cancer Institute has tips on how to choose the best treatment center for you.

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