Frequently Asked Questions
We know you have lots of questions, a lot of people share the same questions and concerns.
We have compiled a collection of some of the most common questions we receive with answers to help you in your process.
An oncologist is a doctor who diagnoses and treats cancerous tumors. Oncologists have not only graduated from an accredited medical school, they have also completed specialty training as an oncologist and/or hematologist, as well as further sub-specialty training. Examples of oncology sub-specialties include gynecological oncology, medical and pediatric oncology.
A hematologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and/or prevention of blood diseases and cancers such as iron-deficiency anemia, hemophilia, sickle-cell disease, leukemia and lymphoma. This physician is trained in both hematology (the study of blood) and oncology (the study of cancer).
Gynecologic oncologists are specialists in the area of female reproductive cancers. If your physician has advised you to have surgery for a pelvic mass for what could possibly be a gynecological cancer, we recommend that you see one of our gynecological oncologists. (This would include exploratory surgery for any suspicious pelvic mass.)
Community-based cancer care incorporates all aspects of outpatient cancer care (such as laboratory and diagnostic imaging capabilities, as well as chemotherapy and radiation therapy) in treatment centers which are located within a patient’s community. This approach is based on the idea that providing convenient, quality care closer to patients and their support networks helps maintain patient quality of life. It’s also shown to help patients adhere to their therapy more consistently, which is vital to the treatment process.
The convenience of community-based cancer care allows patients to access the most advanced cancer technologies in one location. This eliminates the burden of the patient having to travel to distant or multiple locations. With an integrated medical setting, all aspects of the patient’s care can be closely coordinated. Community-based cancer care also enables patients to be near their supportive circle of friends and family during their treatment.
Treatment time will vary. Your physician will work with you individually to develop a personalized treatment plan catered to your specific needs, including an estimated time frame for treatment.
Please make arrangements for someone to drive you to and from your first treatment. Depending on your treatment, it may be necessary for someone to drive you each time.
For patients receiving treatments in our office, medications will be administered by one of our caring and experienced oncology-trained Registered Nurses in our comfortable infusion centers. Our nurses will navigate you through the process and are always available to answer any questions you may have about your treatment.
Eat what you would normally eat. If there is a dietary restriction, your nurse will go over any restrictions prior to treatment. You’re welcome to bring snacks and drinks to have during your treatment, as well.
Take any regularly scheduled medications. If you have a question about whether you should take a particular medication, please call our office and speak to your physician’s nurse.
If your matter is urgent, please tell our telephone operator when you call so that this information can be relayed to the nurse. Calls of an urgent nature are given priority. All calls to the nurse are returned the same business day.
The nurse will assess your needs, provide instructions on how to treat or monitor a problem, and advise you on when you should seek immediate medical attention. The nurse will discuss everything with your physician to coordinate your care.
Because we recognize that support and encouragement are essential to your care, we would, in ordinary circumstances, encourage you to bring someone with you. However, due to COVID-19 safety protocol, visitors are not allowed at the practice at this time. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis – for example, when a patient requires assistance with mobility or communicating; please contact our office prior to your appointment to discuss options.
Due to chemotherapy being administered, children under 16 years of age are never permitted in the treatment area.
The side effects of treatment can vary depending on the treatment received and can vary from patient to patient. Our nurses are a great source of information regarding your care and can answer questions that may arise during or after your treatment.
Managing your cancer pain is important to us. Please talk with your care team if your cancer pain is not being controlled. Be aware that some narcotic prescriptions, by law, cannot be called into the pharmacy. Prescriptions that meet this requirement must be picked up in person, at our office, Monday-Friday during regular office hours, where you will be required to present your government-issued photo identification.
When your treatment is completed, you will be scheduled for follow-up visits. These may be as often as monthly, every three months, or annually. During your follow-up visits, we may schedule scans or other tests to monitor you. These exams also check on how your body is recovering from treatment.
A patient portal is a secure online website that gives patients convenient 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an Internet connection. Using a secure username and password, patients can view health information such as: Recent appointments, vital signs, educational materials and much more. Because we are committed to having you actively involved in your care, we are constantly working on new features for the portal. At any time, if you have any difficulties logging in or using the portal, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help you.
A copayment (also called a co-pay) is a fixed amount a patient is required to pay at the time of his/her medical appointment.
A deductible is the amount a patient must pay for covered care before health insurance begins to pay. This amount will vary based on the insurer. For example, under one health insurance plan, a comprehensive deductible might apply to all medical services, while another insurance plan might have separate deductibles for specific benefits (i.e. prescription drug coverage).
Co-insurance is the percentage of the covered services that a patient is required to pay. For example, your health insurance plan might cover 80% of charges for a covered hospitalization, and you would be responsible for the remaining 20% of charges. (The 20% is called the co-insurance.)