Manage Your Cancer Journey

Tips for the newly diagnosed

A smiling female nurse kneels down to greet a mature Caucasian woman in a wheelchair, representing how Scripps keeps you informed at every step  of your cancer journey.

Tips for the newly diagnosed

As you start your cancer journey and begin understanding 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 with making significant decisions. We take a patient-centered approach to care, keeping you informed and answering your questions at every step to help you feel confident and in control of your care.

 

The following tips can help you start managing your journey.

1. Understand your cancer treatment plan

From day one, you’ll work closely with your nurse navigator regarding 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.

 

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. Discuss your treatment options with your team, and never hesitate to ask for more information or do additional research on your own.

 

The links below provide more information about understanding your cancer care:

 

2. Write down your questions

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.

 

Many patients have questions about the following:


  • What to expect from treatment and side effects
  • How to find support groups and resources
  • How to arrange transportation to and from treatments, if needed
  • How to manage work and family responsibilities during treatment
  • When to get a second opinion
  • What clinical trials are available
  • What to expect from insurance coverage

Fact-check your research

The internet is filled with information on cancer, but it’s absolutely essential to 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.) Confirm your research results with your physician, and ask your cancer care team for recommended sites and other resources you can trust.

3. Track results and reports

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

List medications

Keep an updated list of all the medications you’re taking, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicine and herbal or natural supplements. Include the drug name, the amount (dose) and the number of times a day you take the medication (frequency). Bring the list with you to your medical appointments.

4. Don’t hesitate to ask

Your Scripps MD Anderson cancer care team is dedicated to helping you throughout your care. Any time you have a question regarding your diagnosis, treatment or other aspect of your care, ask your care team first.