Understanding Your Cancer Care

A partner in your cancer care

At Scripps, we want to be a partner in your treatment and care. By working together, we can find the best, most effective treatment options for you. To help in the decision-making, you can:

Learn about your treatment plan

Discuss which treatment options are best for you and don’t be afraid to ask questions, however many you have. Your treatment will depend on the type and stage of the cancer, as well as other factors including age, health status and personal needs. A cancer diagnosis may make people feel like they need treatment right away, but usually there is plenty of time to consider all the available options to be as well-informed as possible. It can help to prepare questions for the team ahead of time and take notes during your appointments.

Learn about the potential side effects of your treatment

Know what may be expected and how to manage symptoms.

Let your health care team know about side effects you are experiencing

Learn about what symptoms can wait to be discussed at an appointment and what may be an emergency.

Learn the terms

When your health care provider says a term you do not understand, ask him or her what it means. See this guide to cancer terms (PDF, 78 KB) for help.

Keep records

It’s very helpful to keep records of key aspects of your cancer care. This is useful if you seek care from different health care providers, or when you see a new health care professional. You can ask your physician or the hospital’s health information department for copies of records including the following:

  • Diagnostic scans, such as CT, MRI or PET
  • Pathology report
  • Lab results
  • Treatment plan

Keep an updated list of all the medications you are taking

Include the drug name, the amount (dose) and the number of times a day you take the medication (frequency). Keep this list with you at all times, as your health care team will ask for it at appointments or the hospital. Here’s a cancer medications (PDF, 26 KB) form to help.

Stay informed

Ask your health care provider for suggested resources on cancer treatments, healthy eating and appropriate exercises. The internet is filled with information on cancer, but it is necessary to use caution and know that some sites may not have the most current or reliable information. Web addresses that end in “.org” or “.edu” are generally more respected, as they are managed by government, non-profit and higher education institutions. (Be aware that web site addresses ending in “.com” may represent commercial interests.)