The network of care offered by SIH Cancer Institute provides patients the three main components for cancer treatment: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Within the three categories there are many advanced treatments and technologies that can be used alone or in combination to treat your specific type of cancer.
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with cancer, your cancer team may suggest a course of treatment that involves one or more of the therapies below.
- Radiation Therapy
- Complementary & Integrative Medicine
- Gene Therapy
You and your loved ones are encouraged to take an active role in your care, and make treatment decisions that are best for you. Please consider some key areas before choosing a cancer treatment.
A prognosis is a cancer specialist’s best estimate of how your disease will respond to treatment, and what your life expectancy may be. Some patients whose cancer is discovered in the early stages may only need minor treatment. Others with advanced cancer may have few treatment options, if any, or may have an aggressive cancer with a low survival rate.
Patients who receive the worst news may proceed with treatment anyway; others may refuse treatment. Whatever decision you make, consider the wishes of loved ones, and talk it over with your cancer team.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer by your family physician, it is wise to get a second opinion from a cancer specialist. If the specialist agrees with your first diagnosis, they can help you understand the available treatment options for your cancer.
Because cancer treatment involves sophisticated techniques, machinery and medicine, it can be very expensive. Some treatments require a hospital stay of one night or more, which adds on to the overall cost. Health insurance and managed care plans rarely cover all the costs of cancer treatment, so it’s important to find out what is and is not covered by your policy. Read more about insurance and billing.
It is prudent to prepare legal documents that spell out how your cancer treatments and personal affairs should be handled if you become unable to make decisions. Advance directives include documents like living wills, medical power of attorney, and do-not-resuscitate orders.
Some newly-diagnosed patients may be eligible to join a clinical trial. These carefully controlled studies test new drugs or treatments that may be as good or better than standard care. Clinical trials have provided new hope for some people whose cancer has not responded to traditional treatments.
If you decide to proceed with cancer treatment, then it’s time to choose an oncologist (cancer doctor) and a hospital where the treatment will be carried out.