Being diagnosed with cancer can cause anxiety, but understanding what you can expect during your treatment shouldn't. At the Utah Valley Cancer Center, we want each patient to feel knowledgeable and prepared in their treatment.
If you, or a loved one, has been diagnosed with cancer, the question on the forefront of your mind may be, "Now what?" While not a definitive list – as each patient and cancer treatment plan is unique – the following will help provide an outline of our approach to cancer treatment.
The earliest stage of the treatment plan is discovering cancer. This is often discovered through cancer screenings, or having abnormalities examined. The discovery stage frequently involves further tests to more fully understand the type of cancer and how it is evolving. The results of these tests will be provided to your physician.
Not all abnormalities indicate cancer, or even a future possibility of cancer. Your physician will discuss with you possible treatment options, including the possibility to wait and watch. If cancer is detected, you will be referred to an oncologist (cancer specialist) who will work with you to understand the nature of the cancer and treatment options available.
When you receive your cancer treatment from the Utah Valley Cancer Center, you have the benefit and combined wisdom of a treatment team, made up of surgical specialists, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists (chemotherapy specialists) chemotherapy physicians and other specialists, as needed.
Your cancer treatment team focuses on your needs and works with you to develop a treatment plan that is based on best practices. Based on the type of cancer and phase, your treatment may involve a combination of treatment options. The most important thing is that it's optimized for you.
Before beginning treatment, you will meet with all the physicians that will be involved in your treatment in what we call a multidisciplinary clinic. This will allow you to ask questions and for your treatment team to help you more fully understand the treatment plan. This team is here for you, so feel free to ask questions of any member of your care team.
Unfortunately, some cancers are not currently treatable. In these situations, some patients may have options to participate in clinical trials or be given palliative care options. Whatever treatment plan is selected, our caring physicians will work with you to help you understand the benefits and risks of the plan and what to expect with your personalized treatment.
Cancer is a big enough battle on its own, so dealing with all the other aspects of how it affects your life shouldn't be. That's why we provide ongoing support to our patients.
Breast cancer patients have a nurse that guides them through the emotional challenges of cancer and helps them feel educated throughout the treatment process.
Cancer recovery is more than just eliminating the cancer, it's about helping you recover completely. This often involves rehabilitation, which can include dietary and exercise changes, as well as counseling. Your rehab team may include your patient navigator, social workers, dieticians and exercise rehabilitation specialists, depending on your needs.
Cancer treatments can often create fatigue, which can make it difficult to exercise, but regular aerobic exercise and resistance training are important during and after treatment. A physical therapist will work with you to create an exercise program that's targeted at helping you return to physical activity and range of motion. Following this exercise plan is important to help reduce the recurrence of cancer and to avoid getting ill from other diseases.
Along with exercise, following a proper nutrition plan will aid in the cancer treatment and rehabilitation process. A dietician is available to help you develop a plan that is catered to your needs. Side effects during treatment can lead to a loss of appetite, and if not carefully treated, can lead to malnutrition. Appetite changes are common, and working with a dietician to address these changes can help you have the energy you need to continue with your treatments.
Following cancer treatment, patients sometimes experience changes in weight (either an increase or decrease). Maintaining a proper diet, along with exercise, will help provide balance and a return to stability.
If you have any questions about what to expect during cancer treatment, or how individual needs can be best met, please contact the Utah Valley Cancer Center at (801) 357-7575.