Julie and I decided to not pursue a second opinion with the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They talk a great talk, but the reviews don’t show they necessarily walk the walk.
Speaking with then over the phone, they are all about getting us out there for initial consults, examination of what has gone before, talked about some possible options such as acupuncture to help with neuropathy because of chemo and implantation of radio-isotopes instead of surgical removal, and liver biopsies.
Funny thing, got a call from a social worker with the VA earlier this week and she wanted to touch bases with me on how I was doing both mentally and physically — how I was holding up. We had a long discussion and I mentioned in there about the second opinion. She said that was a great idea and encouraged, as the VA may not have approval for all the cutting edge latest treatments that may be available. We also talked about the CTCA asking about a liver biopsy. She mentioned that she could not remember ever hearing of a liver biopsy being performed in cancer cases at the VA where cancer is newly found in the liver.
After some research and a discussion with my general practitioner, no biopsy may be to prevent spreading of cancer.
They also seem to give you the royal treatment — $25 a night hotel accommodations, plane tickets paid for to the center in Phoenix, AR (we learned a day later that they would only fly Julie out there on the initial visit and any subsequent visit if I needed care or assistance, otherwise not), and shuttle service to-and-from the airport and to-and-from the CTCA.
Then Julie did some serious research on other patients opinions and reviews of the CTCA. Not good. They even had past employees talking about problems with the CTCA. Reviews of an organization that handles something like cancer are generally going to be very good or very poor — no real middle ground here. Taking into account all of the reviews, 60% (6 out of every 10) were 1 of 5, and the ex-employee mentioned that those that questioned too much of what was being recommended for treatment were “black-listed” in a book to ensure they were not invited for treatment in the future. Several reviews also mentioned the royal treatment facade falls away soon after the first visit.
If even half of what was written were true, that is too much for Julie or I. I canceled the appointment. Probably for the best anyway; it is already difficult to maintain a schedule with trips for each chemo treatment to Portland and back, I can only imagine the difficulties traveling to Phoenix and back for treatments. Julie is looking closer to home now for that second opinion.