Facing the Challenge
A formidable challenge
While we have turned the corner in the battle against many cancers, it is still a serious and complex condition. After all, cancer isn’t one disease, but many different diseases which can affect people in many different ways.
There are many different types of treatment for cancer, and no single course of treatment is right for everyone. That’s why it’s necessary to design a treatment program that is tailored to your specific needs. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best course of treatment for you.
- Many Resources Many Options
- What We Can Do For You
- A Full Range of Services for Body and Spirit
- Office Visits
- Your First Appointment
- In-between Visits: Calls and Emergencies
If you are confronting cancer and trying to understand what to do, the question you might be asking yourself is, “Where to do I begin?”
The best place to start is with your Commonwealth physician. He or she is a specialist in oncology (the treatment of cancer) and/or hematology (the treatment of blood diseases). Your doctor, nurse practitioner and our specially trained nurses will take the time to discuss your specific illness and treatment options. They will also direct you to appropriate educational materials and support groups.
Beyond that, it is important to empower yourself by learning about your disease and taking an active role in your care. There are many books and publications you can use to help educate yourself about cancer and coping with the impact it can have on you and your family. There are also many online resources that offer advice on coping and facts about cancer.
At Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology, you receive the best of both worlds: individualized care in a comfortable environment close to home, combined with the resources of New England’s largest private practice specializing in cancer care. We try to make your treatment as convenient and comprehensive as possible.
Your doctor is the center of a medical team that includes more than 100 dedicated health care professionals. In addition, a hallmark of our practice is close collaboration with our colleagues in the medical community: your primary care physician, surgeon, and specialists, as needed.
We administer most treatment on an outpatient basis, and are affiliated with many of the finest hospitals in the area.
We take advantage of state-of-the-art advances in diagnosis and treatment, including the newest chemotherapy drugs and the most sophisticated radiation technology.
Our comprehensive services include:
- diagnosis and staging
- radiation therapy
- immunologic therapy
- biologic therapy
- genetic counseling
- clinical trials
- survivorship planning and follow up
Our medical services go hand-in-hand with emotional, psychological, social, nutritional support, all of which you’ll find in our local support groups.
Another key part of our program is patient education. In our Patient Resource Centers, you will find helpful literature and videotapes.
Our goal at Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology is to make every visit as pleasant and productive an experience as possible.
At your initial visit, our receptionist will ask you for personal information such as your address, phone number, and social security number. Please bring a copy of a photo ID to your first visit. The receptionist will make a copy of your insurance cards. Prior to your visit, our intake coordinator will review your insurance coverage and our billing and reimbursement procedure. Your health and personal information is protected by the law and will never be disclosed without your consent.
At Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology, we respect your time and try to honor your scheduled appointments. Please let the receptionist know if you have been waiting more than 30 minutes. This should only happen in the event of an emergency, and we apologize in advance for any inconvenience.
Before you leave our office, please ask your physician when you should return and the reason for your next visit: physician appointment, chemotherapy or radiation treatment, or a nursing appointment. Whatever the occasion for your return, our receptionist will try to find an appointment time that’s convenient for you.
We encourage patients to call us if a question or problem arises in between visits to the office. Your physician or nurse will return calls as quickly as possible. If you feel your call is an emergency, please tell the receptionist or the answering service.
Note that one of our physicians is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – so please don’t hesitate to call our office if you have a problem.
If you call your physician’s office after 5:00 p.m., our answering service will automatically pick up. The physician on call will then be paged and given your message. When the doctor returns your call, please identify yourself. Have a friend or family member do the same, if they are calling for you. It is very important that you turn off your caller ID or call blocking if you want the doctor to call you back after hours. Also, have your pharmacy’s number handy if the doctor needs to call in a prescription. If you’re concerned your message didn’t go through, please allow up to one half hour before calling again.
If you want to check on test results, please note that your physician will generally have the information in two to three days. If the results indicate a need to change your treatment, your doctor will call you immediately. Otherwise, the results will be discussed with you in person at your next appointment.
If you have been in the hospital between visits to Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology, ask your doctor when you need a follow-up visit, then call us for an appointment.
For your convenience, Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology provides chemotherapy medications and other treatment drugs in each of our offices or clinics. If you require oral medications, we will give you appropriate prescriptions.
You can refill many prescriptions by simply calling your pharmacist early in the day, if possible, with the name of the medicine and the prescription number. Your pharmacist will then call our office for refill approval.
Certain types of prescriptions can’t be refilled over the phone, so you or a family member will need to come to our office to pick them up. Once you obtain a written prescription for these medications (e.g., M.S. Contin, Dilaudid, Duragesic, Percocet, etc.), take it to your pharmacy right away to have it filled. Please note that narcotic prescriptions must be filled within three days of the date shown or they will be void. Therefore, you should request the prescription before your supply runs out. It’s also a good idea to see if you’ll need a refill before holidays and weekends.
Many insurance plans provide a mail-order prescription service that allows a three-month supply of medicine. Please let us know if you are eligible for this.
If you have concerns about the cost of your prescriptions, please speak with any of your health care providers, a receptionist, or the office manager as there may be prescription assistance available to you. A Patient Advocate may be able to help you with the cost of oral medications.