“You have cancer.” These three frightening words can rapidly turn a person’s world upside down, leaving them to ask, “What do I do now? Where do I go for treatment? Will radiation therapy make me tired or even sicker?” The good news for patients is that there are answers and all it takes is simply asking your doctor these questions. In its continued efforts to educate and empower cancer patients, InterCommunity Cancer Centers (ICCC) and Institute (ICCI) of Leesburg, Lady Lake and Clermont and the American Cancer Society want to help you get the answers you need when it comes to cancer care.
An important part of receiving high quality health care at a cancer center is forming a partnership between you and your doctor. It is critical for you to effectively communicate with each other so your specific needs are met during the diagnosis and treatment process. According to the American Cancer Society’s Talking With Your Doctor, cancer treatment often means that you will have more than one doctor. Sometimes, other health specialists are involved too. You may get information from many sources, but it is always a good idea to choose one doctor to be your primary source because you can turn to him or her at anytime with specific questions and concerns you may have regarding your treatment.
The next step is to prepare a list of questions you would like to ask your doctor so you can educate yourself about your cancer, potential treatments, convenient access to care, and what to expect during and after treatments. Remember, there are no “bad” questions, so never hesitate to ask your doctor about your cancer care. As cancer specialists, we are not only clinicians and educators; we are a part of your support system. We are here to offer you a skilled hand or shoulder to lean on throughout your cancer care.
“It is absolutely imperative for patients to feel comfortable with their primary physician during this process because there are so many different questions and concerns when it comes to cancer treatment,” said Hal M. Jacobson, M.D., medical director of ICCC/ICCI in Lady Lake. “Patients should never feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask questions because once answered, they can place their focus and energy entirely on the healing process. As cancer specialists, it is also our responsibility to create an environment that enables patients to more easily and freely communicate with us and our entire medical staff.”
With help from the American Cancer Society, here are some questions your doctor can answer for you:
. What’s wrong with me?
. What treatment options are recommended?
. What are the benefits of these treatments?
. What are the risks?
. What medicines might I receive as part of my care? . What are they for?
. How should I expect to feel during treatment?
. How will my care be coordinated and by who?
. What are the credentials and experience of the physicians providing my care?
. Does my physician belong to a cancer and/orradiation therapy center?
. Does the cancer and/or radiation therapy center provide additional services such as a dietician and transportation services?
. Can I receive these treatments close to home?
When you get instructions and answers from your doctor, write them down. Make sure you understand them before you leave the office and if you don’t, ask again and again until you are absolutely clear about what your doctor is explaining to you regarding your progress and/or treatment. Keep written notes from your conversations with the doctor and medical staff and bring them with you if needed. The more informed you become about your cancer the more focused you can be on beating it.
“When it comes to cancer treatment, knowledge truly is power because the more involved you become with the process the more positive you will feel with the direction it is heading in,” said Dr. Alison Calkins, radiation oncologist at ICCC/ICCI. “Our goal at ICCC is to comfort, educate and effectively treat our patients so that they can have a positive outcome. We are committed to our patients and firmly believe that the environment we have created here significantly enhances their overall quality of life during and after cancer treatment.”
THE EXPERIENCE OF INTERCOMMUNITY CANCER CENTERS
ICCC has 25 years of cancer-fighting experience having treated over 10,000 patients. They are dedicated to empowering patients to have the confidence they need to change their lives. Radiation Oncologists Drs. Hal Jacobson, Herman Flink, Maureen Holasek and Alison Calkins bring exceptional expertise in treating breast, lung, prostate, gynecologic, skin and other cancers.
As part of a larger, nation-wide oncology group of physicians and specialists under Vantage Oncology, the oncologists at ICCC have access to aggregated clinical information and best practices from the treatment of more than 1,000 patients per day, enabling them to develop highly-effective and peer-collaborated treatments. This gives many of the centers that work with Vantage, including ICCC, the ability to offer university-quality treatment services in smaller and more rural areas. It gives local communities exceptional services closer to home and in a non-hospital setting. To learn more, please visit www.ICCCVantage.com.
ABOUT VANTAGE ONCOLOGY
Vantage Oncology offers a complete development, implementation and management solution for radiation oncology practices. It provides ownership opportunities that empower physicians to maintain control of their practice while leveraging the strength of the company’s network and clinical resources. A multi-disciplinary team is committed to continuously raising the standards of cancer care. Vantage provides patients and their families with ultimate peace of mind through its commitment to clinical excellence and superior outcomes. For more information, please visit www.VantageOncology.com.
920 Rolling Acres Road, Suite 201
Lady Lake, FL 32159
Phone: (352) 751-4990
1920 Don Wickham Drive #130
Clermont, FL 34711
Phone: (352) 326-2224
Source: Talking With Your Doctor – American Cancer Society, Inc.