As a patient, you play an important role in preparing for your cancer treatment. The
following are some of the most important things to consider before treatment begins:
Find an oncologist and treatment center. This step is important to everyone with cancer. You want to be sure you get the best
care possible. Ask your general or primary healthcare provider for a referral to an
oncologist (a healthcare provider who specializes in treating cancer). You can also
contact government and professional medical organizations. These include your state's
health department, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), or the American Medical Association
(AMA), for information on cancer specialists and treatment centers in your area.
Get a second opinion. It is common for people diagnosed with cancer to ask another cancer specialist for
his or her opinion. A second opinion can help you to be sure your diagnosis and treatment
plans are most appropriate for your individual medical history and profile. In fact,
many health insurance companies require people to get a second opinion before treatment
begins. Asking for a second opinion also provides more information to consider when
making choices. These include medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons,
pathologists, radiologists, and others.
Find out about your cancer treatment. Your cancer care team will help you understand your treatment and answer questions.
It also helps to learn about the type of cancer you have, as well as your treatment
choices. Ask your healthcare provider where you can find more information about cancer.
This website contains information on many cancer topics. Also, the NCI, the American
Cancer Society, and other cancer- and health-related organizations provide helpful
Find support when you need it. Cancer treatment can be a long and tiring experience. Many people with cancer need
help throughout the process. Getting help from others can make your experience more
successful. Support groups for people with cancer and their families are available
in many communities. Managing your emotional health, your diet, and your finances
are all things you can do to reduce the stress involved in the treatment process.
Oncology nurses and social workers are excellent resources for locating appropriate