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The Cancer Care Center
Tool kit for cancer patients
There are three phases of cancer treatment:
Seek out advice and support for each phase. Help is all around you and throughout St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center. Use this Web site, as we provide many resources. If you don’t see them, just call 314-525-1355 and please ask.
Following is a list of guidelines to help you through the phases of your cancer treatment.
- Work with our cancer center team as “your team.”
We understand the potential stress and anxiety of a cancer diagnosis. We work with you through this critical time with compassion and service excellence that is personalized for you, your family and your individual needs and wants. The initial shock of a cancer diagnosis can lead to denial, depression, anger, frustration, stress and other symptoms of “shock.” We are here for you.
- Seek out advice from our skilled physicians.
Surgical oncology, medical oncology and radiation oncology physicians are ready to work together for you. Just ask for an appointment and we will be happy to assist you. Many patients seek a consultation with each type of cancer physician. If necessary, your case can be reviewed at tumor conference by a multidisciplinary team of physicians.
- Work out a plan for your own “caregiver.”
Your caregiver might be a spouse, family member or friend. Discuss your goals with your caregiver(s). When you arrive for a consultation, you should have someone with you. The initial diagnosis of cancer can be very stressful. It will be helpful to have another person listening to the instructions and advice your physician will offer, so the responsibility to remember everything will not be yours alone. Let your caregiver assist when necessary. If you need time alone, make that clear as well. People generally want to help; allow them to do so.
- Bring written questions and write down notes.
There are many details about cancer diagnosis and treatment. Additional information you write down will help later to keep track of the process. Ask for educational materials if you don’t see them right away.
- Keep a journal and a calendar.
Each time you see a physician, take notes that include the doctor’s name, the date, his or her specialty, the date and time of your next appointment, and any information the doctor may give you.
- Keep an insurance folder of all your receipts for co-pays, office visits, medications, supplies etc.
Also, keep a folder of your bills and any letters from your medical insurance company.
- Contact your insurance company.
Always call your insurance company yourself before each consultation and before any treatment begins. Read or obtain a current copy of your benefits so you know what is available. Every time you call the insurance company, get the name of the person you speak with and his or her phone number. Make sure you state the treatments that are being offered and that they are “authorized.” This can help relieve a great deal of stress later, when copies of medical bills arrive. If you need further assistance, ask us for a financial counselor, who can help you make sense of and organize these bills.
- Establish a medical power of attorney and a living will.
At least two important people in your life should have a copy of both of these documents. It is best to review these types of documents before treatment begins.
- Take important health precautions.
When cancer treatment begins, ask visiting family and friends to wash their hands when they arrive at your home and help you stay germ free, especially during flu season. If your treatment affects your immune system, even temporarily, you will want to stay away from visiting germs. Ask your physician before receiving a flu shot.
- Ask for and seek out nutritional counseling advice and support.
Fatigue or loss of appetite can reduce your ability to heal and fight illness. Some simple advice and steps can be taken to improve how you feel and speed up recovery time.
- Get a copy of your “Patient Bill of Rights.”
Copies are readily available at the hospital registration or reception areas.
- Have a follow-up and survivorship plan.
Know when your appointments are and what is expected. Seek out support groups. There are several right here at St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center. There are also many other resources available, such as the Cancer Support Community, the American Cancer Society and Cancer Agencies Network of Greater St. Louis. Your physician or nurse will help you stay on track with your goals.
- Know that the St. Anthony’s Cancer Care Center mission states that we have “the duty and the privilege to provide the best care to every patient, every day.”
If you need any assistance at all, or have any concerns, ask your physician, nurse, staff member and department manager. They are all ready to help in anyway they can.
If you need any assistance at all, or have any concerns, ask your physician, nurse, staff member and department manager. They are all ready to help in anyway they can. If you need to speak with the director of the Cancer Care Center, that number is 314-525-1355.
You can also download this PDF, by our Cancer Care Center Director, on The Cancer Diagnosis: A Toolkit for Survivors.
For information about St. Anthony's Cancer Care Center - St. Louis, please call 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.