The McKay-Dee Hospital Cancer Center strives to help patients feel comfortable and knowledgeable about their cancer treatment. But if you’ve recently been diagnosed or think you may have cancer you may not know what to expect.
Cancer is discovered in a variety of ways. Sometimes a person will find an abnormal lump or skin abnormality and seeks advice from a primary care physician or dermatologist. Sometimes abnormalities are discovered through physical examinations, routine blood work or other prolonged illness. Regardless of the method of discovery, a physician will order initial screening tests to get a better idea of the problem.
Initially, a cancer screening test is done. This could be anything from a mammogram to a colonoscopy. If initial testing is unclear or if the abnormality appears to be cancerous, further testing is ordered. Once sufficient testing is done and the radiologists or other lab technicians have submitted their final report, a doctor reviews test results and makes a decision for further action.
If the abnormality isn’t cancerous, a physician discusses viable treatment options with the patient, or may decide to watch and wait. If a testing reveals cancer, an oncologist gets involved. The oncologist discusses cancer with the patient and helps him or her understand the severity and treatment options.
Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Depending on the type, phase and size of your cancer, a combination of these options may be available. Some cancers aren’t currently treatable. In these cases, patients are presented with options for palliative care or sometimes participation in a clinical trial. Regardless of the treatment options, our physicians ensure an appropriate treatment plan for the patient and an understanding of the benefits and risks of that plan.
Cancer treatment can drastically affect an individual’s daily life. Dealing with the logistical and emotional changes throughout cancer treatment can be overwhelming. Here at the McKay-Dee Hospital Cancer Center, we provide people with an American Cancer Society Patient Navigator to help them find resources like financial aid, support groups and home care. Regardless of the challenges faced with cancer, our patient navigator is there to help find a solution.