A person scans a magnifying glass over various pictures of doctors

What To Look For In A Lung Cancer Doctor

It can be tough to find the right doctor when facing lung cancer. For many community members, the only way they found what they wanted in a doctor was by experiencing what they did not want.

To learn more about what community members learned to look for and what to avoid in a doctor, we started a discussion with followers of our Facebook page. We asked: “What are the most important qualities you look for in a doctor?”

Nearly 40 community members shared, and here is what was said.

One that is competent

Of course we all want our doctors to be competent. A good first step is to do some research on the Federation of State Medical Boards. This nonprofit provides information on every licensed doctor in the United States, including details on board certifications, state certifications, and complaints. You may want to also ask for doctor recommendations and feedback from others who are on the same journey.

“Competent and down to earth.”

“One that is competent.”

“Knowledge and compassion!”

Taking as much time needed to satisfy any questions

Good communication with your doctor is key. You need to have time to be able to share all of your symptoms and concerns without feeling rushed. Too many doctors either have a one-cure-fits-all style or may assume a diagnosis and plan before hearing your whole story. Sadly, many people only learn the importance of being heard by their doctor after having a negative experience, and it does not have to be this way.

“Taking as much time needed to satisfy any questions or concerns that I have.”

“Willing to answer questions.”

“One who actually listens.”

“Willingness to discuss with me.”

“Good listening and social skills. Doctors that will not rush you out the door. If they do they are in the wrong job!”

Knowledgeable about my whole not only the intruder

Many community members also recommend finding a doctor who takes the time to understand your entire medical history and who you are as a person. Not every medicine or plan of attack is right for every patient. Medicine can be much more effective when a patient is on board and believes in what they are being asked to do – which takes time, discussion, and understanding. If there is no discussion and someone is simply told to follow a course of action on blind faith, they are less likely to follow through.

“Knowledgeable about my whole not JUST the intruder.”

“Involves me in decisions.”

“Tries to get to know and understand me.”

One who has some degree of empathy

Dealing with lung cancer is tough, and it can be even tougher when you are being treated by a doctor who has lost touch with their compassion and human side. Unfortunately, there are some doctors who see patients as just another number. It is much more helpful when a doctor shows care, concern, and support, which also helps build trust.


“Compassion instead of an angry face.”

“Concerned enough.”

“One who has some degree of empathy and has not become too jaded or wooden in their delivery of a diagnosis.”

A doctor who is open-minded

In any field of medicine – lung cancer included – there will be new treatments and trial studies. Plus, alternative treatments can provide comfort and healing, and may be worth exploring for some people. With this in mind, you might want to make sure you are working with a doctor who is open to these new approaches and ways of treating lung cancer.

“Open-minded to new ideas and approaches.”

“One who is not close-minded.”

Thank you to all our community members who shared so many helpful suggestions. We appreciate your help in making the journey to finding a good doctor easier for those who read this story. Keep the conversation going and tell us more qualities in the comments!

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The LungCancer.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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