Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What should I bring to my first visit?
- What should I expect at my first visit?
- Can a family member or friend join me on office visits?
- How often will I see the doctor or nurse at Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology?
- If I have a bad reaction or a new problem, whom should I contact?
- What if I miss a treatment?
- Should I call every day to confirm my appointment?
- Will you notify me if my appointment is canceled due to bad weather, etc.?
- After I complete treatment, will that be the last time I visit Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology?
- How do I or my family get in touch with a support group?
- What should I do if I want a second opinion?
- When should I call my doctor?
- How likely are my children or other family members to get cancer?
- What questions should I ask my doctor?
- What if I cannot afford to pay for part of my treatment?
A copy of your complete medical record is most helpful. This includes any X-rays, CT or MRI scans, pathology, or lab reports and/or prior treatment notes. A complete list of your current medications, vitamins and any supplements you may be taking is essential. Please have your insurance card and information with you, as well as some form of photo identification.
At your first visit you will meet your doctor and other members of your cancer care team. These may include an oncology nurse, a nurse practitioner, and a Patient Advocate, among others. You will learn about your disease and proposed treatment. Often additional testing is required before a complete treatment plan is ready. Once a treatment plan is made, you will be provided a written copy of this plan to assist you in scheduling future visits and anticipating what happens next.
Yes. We especially encourage family members or close friends to participate in the initial consult with the physician and nurse. Since we will share much information with you at this time, it may be helpful to have others there to listen, but this is up to you. If you come to one of our Infusion Centers for chemotherapy treatments, support is also encouraged. In addition, family and friends are welcome to come on other visits, but note that most patients are able to drive themselves home. In any event, remember that we are always available to discuss any of your concerns.
You will be scheduled for physician and nurse visits throughout the course of your treatment. Once your treatments are completed, we will make a schedule for follow-up visits.
While you are receiving treatment, it is very important to contact the doctor or nurse at Commonwealth-Hematology Oncology if you have any problems. Remember that we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also note that we will collaborate with your primary care physician to provide a comprehensive team approach.
Because of your particular disease, you will be scheduled for a certain number of treatments. It is extremely important that you receive all of your prescribed treatments. Therefore, if you miss a day, it usually must be made up.
No. Once you are scheduled for treatment, your appointment time is yours, and we will be here for you.
Yes. That is why we ask for your work, home, and cell phone numbers.
No. Approximately one month after your last treatment, you will return for a follow-up appointment. Thereafter, your oncologist will set up a schedule for your checkups and tests. An individualized survivorship plan will be provided for you that outlines the schedule of follow up visits and tests.
If you would like another consultation regarding your condition, you should feel free to ask your physician. We provide a second-opinion referral service that includes consultation and a thorough review with other specialists. Please don’t feel awkward about asking for this.
Your doctor and nurse will give you information about when and how to call if you have symptoms or side effects. But the best advice is that you should call if there is anything that concerns you.
Most cancer is sporadic and caused by a variety of factors including age, sex, diet, and environmental factors. A small number of cancers are “genetic,” meaning that there is a specific gene that is inherited that can cause a cancer. Your doctor will review your case and give you an estimate of the risk for your family. You may be referred for a genetic counseling visit if there is a suspicion of a hereditary risk for cancer in your family.
You need to know what kind of cancer you have, where it is located and if it has spread to other parts of your body. Ask if your cancer can be treated, cured or not, and what your treatment options are. Itâ€™s also important to ask what you can expect during treatment and what kind of side effects you are likely to experience. You also need to know that you may call your doctor any time during treatment.
The cost of cancer care is something that we are all concerned about. At Commonwealth Hematology-Oncology, we have a team of Patient Advocates to help you through your treatment plan. We use many tools to determine the direct and indirect costs of your care in order to provide you with the maximal support. Cancer.net has some helpful resources about the cost of cancer care as well.