What to Expect
We want you to know that your comfort and care is our number one concern. Part of providing good care is letting you know what to expect through the entire process. We encourage you to ask questions and let us know what you need from us at all times.
When You Arrive
You will need to register at the front desk. The receptionist will copy your insurance card and you will be given a few forms to fill out regarding your medical history and any medications you are taking.
A medical assistant will then take you to an exam room to review your medical history and take your vital signs such as your temperature, pulse and blood pressure.
Your cancer provider will come to see you next. He or she will examine you and then sit with you and explain your treatment options in detail. He or she will take the time to answer your questions completely and may order other tests such as X-rays or laboratory work that may be helpful in determining your treatment plan.
If You’re Seeing a Radiation Oncologist
If you are to receive radiation treatments, your radiation oncologist will explain the radiation therapy procedure including how many treatments you will need, the length of those treatments and possible side effects.
If radiation therapy is advised, and you choose to proceed, a simulation, which is a pre-treatment plan, will be arranged. A simulation includes marking your skin with a few small dot-like tattoos to aid the radiation therapists in aligning your body for treatment. The simulation can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
Your First Radiation Treatment
Your first treatment will be scheduled a few days to a few weeks following your simulation. During that interval, the radiation oncologist, dosimetrist and the medical physicist will do your treatment planning.
Your first treatment will normally last 30 minutes and will include verification X-rays of the localized area, as well as your first treatment. You will also see the radiation therapy nurse for further information on radiation and self-care during treatment.
After your first treatment, we will arrange a daily appointment time with you. These treatments will take about 15-20 minutes. The radiation oncologist will see you once a week to check your progress and talk to you about any concerns you may have.
If You’re Seeing a Medical Oncologist
A medical oncologist is a physician who uses medications to treat patients with various types of cancer. Medication may be chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy or molecular-based intervention. In addition, a medical oncologist often continues to manage the complications of cancer even when the cancer itself is no longer actively being treated.
When you meet your medical oncologist, he or she will explain your treatment options, which may include standard treatments and possible participation in a clinical research trial. He or she will also let you know how your chosen treatment may affect your cancer and what side effects you may experience.
If chemotherapy or other treatments requiring intravenous injections are advised, and you choose to proceed, an appointment will be arranged. At that appointment, a chemotherapy nurse will explain your treatment, review your current health status and blood test results and then administer your treatment.
Just as there are many different types of cancer, there are also many different chemotherapy drugs and other medications a medical oncologist can use to treat cancer. For this reason, the timeframe of each of your chemotherapy treatments may vary and will be explained to you.
Your medical oncologist and his or her supporting staff are dedicated to providing you the best medical care in a comfortable, supportive environment.