As you start your cancer journey and begin to understand your diagnosis and treatment options, you may have a great deal of information to process. Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center is here to help you. We take a patient-centered approach to care, keeping you informed and answering your questions at every step, so you can feel confident and in control of your care.
The following tips can help you get started.
Having the support of others as you move through your cancer journey is valuable in many ways. Scripps MD Anderson Cancer Center will pair you with a nurse navigator who will guide and support you throughout your medical care and connect you with helpful resources. Family and friends can accompany you to appointments, assist when you’re not feeling well, take care of errands and simply be there when you need them.
In addition to your nurse navigator, you will have a multidisciplinary team of Scripps MD Anderson cancer care professionals with expertise in your specific cancer type and treatment. Your personalized cancer care team may include:
- Medical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
- Oncology nurses
- Patient support professionals
Your team works collaboratively to provide expert medical care and support throughout your treatment.
Scripps MD Anderson develops a personalized treatment plan for every patient. Your plan will depend on the type and stage of your cancer, as well as your age, your overall health and your personal and lifestyle needs. From day one, you’ll work closely with your nurse navigator to understand your personalized cancer treatment plan. Your plan includes the treatments your team recommends for your care, such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. In some cases, you may need a combination of treatments.
Discuss your treatment options with your team, and never hesitate to ask for more information. The links below provide more information about understanding your cancer care:
As you learn more about your diagnosis and treatment, you’ll probably have questions or want additional information. It may help to write down your questions as you think of them rather than try to remember them at your next appointment.
If you research information online, use caution. Many sites may not have accurate information, and some may even be harmful. Generally, web addresses that end in “.org” or “.edu” are more reliable because they’re managed by government, non-profit and higher education institutions. (Be aware that website addresses ending in “.com” may represent commercial interests.) Ask your cancer care team for recommended sites and other resources you can trust.
Your treatment plan will likely include appointments with various physicians and treatment centers. Your nurse navigator will help coordinate your care, schedule appointments and serve as a liaison between you and members of your care team. Let your navigator know any time you have questions about your care or need help with support services and other needs.
You may find it helpful to keep records of your test results and treatment reports. This can be especially useful if you seek care from several medical providers or a new physician. Ask your doctor or the hospital’s health information department about accessing records, including the items below. Some may charge for copies.
- Diagnostic scans, such as a mammogram, CT, MRI or PET
- Pathology reports
- Lab results
- Treatment plans