About mid-June, my spouse was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the adrenal gland and lungs.
Her family doctor in Thunder Bay had not given her a complete physical examination for three years—no CT scan, MRI, or X-ray. A more thorough blood test would have indicated the adrenal gland was not functioning as it should.
When my spouse returned from a visit to the family doctor in autumn, 2005, as per every visit, the problem received a stock answer: “It has to do with your diabetes.”
I did suggest that maybe a second opinion should be sought since some of my spouse’s problems could be something other than those associated with the diabetes. However, trusting the doctors, she did not get a second opinion.
In May, 2006, my spouse started having problems. Tests showed there was a tumour on the adrenal gland and spots on the lungs. Further tests confirmed cancer.
No chemo was available for this type of cancer. If the cancer had been detected before it got to the lungs, surgery could have been done on the adrenal gland.
I blame the doctor for not taking my spouse’s problems seriously enough to do a full physical early enough. This cut years off her life.
I am asking your readers to call their members of Parliament, both provincial and federal, to request the following in the health plan:
1. Full annual physical for seniors and anyone with a medical problem.
2. All seniors and those with medical problems have a family doctor, so that the doctor’s secretary can notify the patient when they are due for their annual physical.
In the meantime all seniors and anyone with a medical problem who has not had a full physical in recent years, request one even if you have to go to a walk-in clinic.
Early diagnosis could save lives—and also save the health plan’s money, as well.