The cancer specialists at Kalispell Regional Healthcare specialize in treating many types of cancer and blood disorders. Our physicians follow the National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology. This ensures that every patient receives the gold standard of care set by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
Cancer Treatment Guidelines for Patients
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network has also created Guidelines for Patients
to provide up-to-date treatment information that is easy to understand. These guidelines are meant to help patients with cancer talk with their physicians about the best treatment options for their disease.
Questions to Ask About Treatment
You may feel overwhelmed at first with all the information about treatment options. Give yourself time to gather as much information as you can. Learn about your disease and the treatments. Discuss the issues with your doctors, nurses and loved ones. Make use of resources like the NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms
to understand cancer treatment terminology.
You may find it helpful to make a list of your questions before seeing your doctor. You can use the list of questions below as a starting place. This list may make it easier to remember what the doctor says, and you may want to take notes. It may also help to have a family member or friend with you to take part in discussion, to take notes or just to listen.
- What treatment do you think is best for me?
- What are the goals of my treatment? Are we trying to cure the cancer, to control it or to control symptoms it is causing?
- Are there any clinical trials I should look into?
- What is the success rate of this particular treatment for my type and stage of cancer?
- Can I take my other medicines during the treatment period?
- What is the length of the treatment period?
- How long will each treatment take?
- Does someone need to go with me during treatments?
- How will I feel after the treatment?
- What side effects can I expect to encounter?
- How long will side effects last?
- Are there side effects that I need to call you about?
- What can I do to ease the side effects?
- What changes might I need to watch for and tell you about so that you can tell me how I’m doing and if the cancer is responding to treatment?
- Should I change my diet? What foods can’t I eat?
- Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?
- Are there support groups nearby or online that I can join?
Tips for Telling Your Health Care Team How You Feel During Treatment
Treating your cancer to get the best results is important. But your quality of life also matters. Let your doctor and nurse know if you are experiencing any side effects or discomfort. Make sure to tell your doctor or nurse how these problems affect your day-to-day life. Your health care team is there to help you manage your symptoms as well as to treat your cancer.
It’s normal to worry about any problems you may have. You may ask yourself, “Is the cancer getting worse? Are the treatments working?” Talk with your doctor and nurse about your concerns. You also need to let them know as much about the problem as possible. Keep a record of the following information and take it to your appointments:
- What the problem is. Describe the problem (diarrhea, depression, appetite loss) that you are concerned about. Be as specific as possible.
- Where the problem is. Is there a specific area that is affected, such as your stomach or your head?
- When it started. How long have you had the problem? Did you first notice the problem before or after a treatment session? Did you have it before you started treatment? Is it a constant problem? Or do you notice that it is worse or better at certain times? Does it come and go?
- How bad it is. If you had to rank the problem on a scale from 0 to 10 (0=not bad, 10=worst), where would it rank?
- Triggers that make the problem better or worse. Are there certain activities or environments that affect your symptoms?
- How the problem affects your day-to-day life. Have you had to stop any activities because of the problem? Has your life changed because of the problem?
- What is helping. Be sure to share any complementary or alternative therapies you may be trying at home.