Cancer understandably affects more than your physical health. It impedes your psychological well-being as well. Making it necessary for us to develop an approach to comprehensive cancer care that addresses all aspects of your needs in a convenient location. Our multidisciplinary team of professionals collaborate to provide all the services you will need to achieve…
Developing a Treatment Plan With an Oncologist
A cancer diagnosis is an overwhelming experience that can cause a flood of emotions, questions, and uncertainties. Creating a comprehensive treatment plan with an oncologist is one of the most important steps you can take to regain control over your health. By forming a strong partnership with your oncologist, you can navigate the complexities of treatment and empower yourself to face the challenges ahead with newfound determination and hope.
Seek out a specialist
The first step in developing a cancer treatment plan is to find an experienced oncologist specializing in a specific type of cancer. Patients should seek recommendations from their primary care provider, friends, or support groups. They should then research these potential oncologists to ensure they have the necessary experience and training to handle their case. The foundation of effective cancer care is building open communication and trust between the patient and the doctor.
Gather comprehensive medical records
Once the patient has chosen an oncologist, they will need to gather all of their relevant medical records. These records may include:
- Diagnostic tests
- Pathology reports
- Imaging results
- Previous treatment history
This information provides the oncologist with a comprehensive understanding of the patient's unique situation and helps guide treatment decisions.
Understanding the diagnosis
It is essential to have a clear understanding of one's specific cancer diagnosis, such as its type, stage, and any genetic mutations. Ask the oncologist to explain the details of the diagnosis in simple terms and provide written materials if necessary. This knowledge forms the basis for tailoring a treatment plan that addresses the patient's unique needs.
Discussing treatment options
Based on the patient's diagnosis, the oncologist will present them with various treatment options. These options may include one or more of the following:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- Hormonal therapy
Each treatment has benefits, risks, and potential side effects. Take the time to discuss these options thoroughly with the oncologist. Do not hesitate to ask questions or seek a second opinion if needed. Second opinions can provide additional perspectives on the patient's diagnosis and treatment options. They can make the patient feel more confident in their decisions about their treatment while ensuring that they receive high-quality and comprehensive care.
In some cases, the oncologist may recommend the patient participate in a clinical trial. These trials offer access to newer treatment methods and therapies yet to be widely available. Discuss the possibility of participating in relevant clinical trials aligning with one's diagnosis and treatment goals.
Understanding the goal of treatment options
Cancer treatments have two primary goals: curing (curative) or controlling cancer (palliative). Curative cancer treatment plans aim to cure cancer — remission — with supportive and palliative care to manage symptoms and side effects. Sometimes, there is no way to reach the stage of remission, but the oncologist can use palliative treatments to relieve symptoms and side effects as long as possible. These treatments allow patients with incurable cancer to live as well as possible for long periods of time.
The oncologist may use some treatment to slow, stop, and eliminate the cancer. They may also use supportive care to manage symptoms and side effects. For example, if a cancer treatment causes nausea, there are several ways to avoid or reduce nausea, such as a prescribed medication.
Personal preferences and lifestyle
Each person is different. Their lifestyle, values, and personal preferences all significantly shape one's treatment plan. Be open with the oncologist about priorities, such as maintaining an active or normal lifestyle, minimizing side effects, or pursuing complementary therapies. This information helps tailor the treatment plan to align with each patient's goals and values.
Potential benefits and risks
It is important to understand each treatment option's potential benefits and risks to make informed decisions about one's cancer journey. Ask the oncologist about expected outcomes, potential side effects, and any long-term impacts on one's quality of life. This information will help patients weigh the pros and cons of each treatment option and decide which will work best for their short and long-term health.
Establish a treatment timeline
Work with the oncologist to establish a realistic timeline for the treatment plan. This should include the start and end dates of each phase of treatment, as well as any follow-up appointments for tests. Having a clear schedule can help patients mentally prepare for the journey ahead and ensure that they receive the care they need in a timely manner.
Develop a strong support system
Cancer treatment can be physically and emotionally demanding. It is important to have a strong support system in place. This may include family members, friends, support groups, or mental health professionals. Do not hesitate to lean on the support network for emotional, practical, and logistical assistance throughout the treatment journey.
Start your cancer treatment journey today
Decisions about a cancer treatment plan are some of the most personal choices you will ever make. You should feel comfortable and supported through this journey by an experienced oncologist. Our team at Lindenberg Cancer & Hematology Center is here to help you create a plan that addresses your unique needs. Call our office to schedule an appointment today.
Request an appointment here: https://lindenbergcancer.com or call Lindenberg Cancer & Hematology Center at (856) 475-0876 for an appointment in our Marlton office.
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