A diagnosis of cancer can be very stressful and overwhelming. Most people find that learning about cancer and its treatment, as well as understanding the role of the different health care providers in cancer care, can help ease anxiety and distress.
This section contains important information about the many services and supports available to you and your family. We hope that the information provided will address many of your questions and concerns. As well, your health care providers will be pleased to answer any questions you may have throughout your illness and treatment.
Commonly Asked Questions
The following is a list of commonly asked questions that may serve as a guide for you or a family member.
What is Cancer?
In normal body tissues, cells grow and divide in an orderly, controlled fashion, helping the body to function and repair itself. Cancer cells grow in an uncontrolled fashion for reasons that are not fully understood, but are thought to be related to exposure to elements in the environment, such as cigarette smoke or asbestos. As well, some forms of cancer are thought to be hereditary.
Abnormal cell growth can lead to the development of a mass of tissue called a tumor. A tumor may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). A malignant tumor can invade neighboring tissues and organs or spread to other parts of the body (metastasis).
When should I call my family doctor?
Even though you are going through a cancer experience, you should continue to see your family doctor on a regular basis. He/she remains your primary physician and should be contacted to deal with any problems or illnesses such as colds and flu, refills of prescriptions, etc... which may or may not be related to your cancer. If your condition changes prior to your first visit, please contact your family doctor.
We ensure your doctor is aware of your cancer progress by sending updates to him/her after every visit.
If I am a new patient and I need to change an appointment, who do I call?
All patients will be provided with written confirmation of their appointment time. If you need to change the time of your appointment, please contact the Cancer Centre where your appointment was arranged.
If I am concerned about my condition, who can I call?
You should contact your family doctor. However, if you are unable to reach him/her, contact your primary nurse at the Centre. This person's name and telephone number will be provided at your first visit.
Where can I get my prescriptions filled?
Your local drug store can fill all of your prescriptions. If you have to be away from your home community for treatment, you should ensure that you have an adequate supply of medication and/or written prescriptions from your family doctor.
Why is it important to have all the information before I begin my treatment?
A decision about appropriate treatment requires certain essential information. Blood tests, x-rays and a range of other reports must be assembled to identify the best possible form of treatment. It can take up to two weeks, and sometimes longer for test results to be available and the analysis to be completed.