OncoPilot: Navigating the Cancer Journey

This guide has been developed to give you suggestions on ways to make a new diagnosis of cancer easier and to help you make the best decisions during this emotional time. It is important for the patient to become an active member of his or her healthcare team.

Mapping the Journey

What can I do BEFORE my first appointment with the oncologist?: It can be several days or weeks until you meet with a specialist to learn more about your diagnosis and this time can be filled with anxiety and fear.

Finding an Oncologist: Finding the right doctor is not as simple as one would think. Here are some tips to assembling the right team for you.

Using the Internet to Learn About Cancer: The Internet can be helpful- or harmful- when it comes to health information. Use these tips to find reliable, accurate websites.

Resources for More Information: General Cancer Information: This list of general cancer websites can be a great start on your search for information.

New Diagnosis: Questions to Ask: This is your care, so be prepared to ask the questions that will help you make decisions regarding your treatment team and your care with this guide.

Second Opinions: While not right for every case, this article helps you understand the potential value to a second opinion and how to go about getting one.

The First Visit to a Specialist: This article covers ways to prepare to assure you get the most out of this visit.

Questions to Ask your Medical Oncologist: This article lists questions that you may want to be answered during your appointment with a medical oncologist who prescribes chemotherapy and medications to treat cancer.

Questions to Ask your Surgeon: This article lists questions that you may want to be answered during your appointment with a surgeon.

Questions to Ask During your Radiation Oncology Consultation: This article lists questions that you will want to be answered during your appointment with the radiation oncology team.

Tumor Board Basics: A meeting of oncology specialists to review your case and decide on treatment recommendations.

Preparing for Your First Day of Chemotherapy: Tips to easing the anxiety of the first chemotherapy treatment.

Preparing for Radiation: Simulation and Treatment: Tips to ease the anxiety of simulation and radiation treatment.

Managing Recurrence: When the fear of recurrence becomes reality, you may feel overwhelmed and not know where to start. These suggestions can get you pointed in the right direction.

Stopping or Taking a Break from Therapy: For many people with cancer, there may come a time when enough is enough. You have every right as a patient to stop treatment or take a break at any time.

On the Journey

While receiving cancer treatments, you may be searching for different information than when you were first diagnosed. Information about treatments, managing side effects or practical and emotional concerns. This page can be a jumping-off point for you - or use the dropdown menus above to explore.

Back in Port

The "End" of the Journey: After active treatment is complete, you will begin a plan for follow-up care. Completion of therapy is a time when friends and family say "Congratulations" and "You must be glad to be done", but you may be feeling uncertain about this milestone. You aren't alone. This is a very common reaction and there are a few tips to help you deal with it.

Keeping the Logs

Keeping a record of treatments, tests and appointments can be a great help when seeing multiple physicians, at follow up visits or in the event of a trip to the emergency room. The forms in this section are designed to be printed and carried with you to appointments. You may want to start a 3 ring binder or folder to keep them easily accessible and organized. Have a family member draw a fun picture or use a photo you like to dress up the cover! As tests or therapies are completed, ask your nurse or doctor to record them on the chart. If you require additional pages, you can print just the page you need.

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