Am I terminal?
Upon hearing the diagnosis of cancer many people find themselves afraid to ask one of the biggest questions they would like answered, “Am I terminal?” It is a stressful and confusing time when an individual is attempting to comprehend and educate themselves on their illness. Having open communication with your medical team is vital to answering your questions. At Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center Cancer Institute we encourage you to ask questions, even the difficult ones. If you are afraid that you may forget a question, we recommend you write down all your questions as they come to you. Bring these with you to your appointments with your physician and medical team. This will ensure that you do not forget to ask a question that you may later want to know the answer to. In most cases your physician cannot determine if you are in terminal status until a full and complete course of treatment has been applied. “Am I terminal?”, is a complex question and cannot be answered easily. At the Cancer Institute your medical team will always work closely with you and guide you along your treatment journey.
What Can I Expect Now That I Have Been Diagnosed With Cancer?
Understanding the treatment journey you are beginning may help to reduce some of your stress. Although different individuals may prefer varying depths of knowledge, it is important that what happens next is understood. At the Cancer Institute you can expect that your team will immediately begin assessing and determining the best course of treatment for you. You will be an integral part of this process. You can expect that your team of care providers will maintain communication with you and each other during your treatment. You can expect to receive advanced and comprehensive cancer care. Additionally, you can expect to receive compassionate care with each staff member and volunteer striving to live out our mission of “Hope, Health, and Healing."
Our Sacred Work
How Long Could My Treatment Last?
The length of time your treatment will last will depend on the type of cancer and the specific type of treatment being administered. Chemotherapy treatments could be a few weeks to several months of intermittent chemotherapy. This is dependent on the nationally recognized protocols for your diagnosis, prior treatment history and co-morbidities. Radiation therapy also varies and could be one to several weeks of daily radiation treatments. Whether your treatment plan requires chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of both, the specific length of treatment will be discussed with you prior to the start of your first treatment.
What are the Side Effects of Radiation or Chemotherapy?
Side effects of cancer treatments can be varied and at times difficult on an individual. Your physician may share with you a list of possible side effects. You may experience some or none of these side effects. Possible effects of Chemotherapy are nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, and hair loss. Possible side effects of radiation therapy are peeling of the skin at the treatment site, redness and/ or soreness to the treated site, and fatigue. Due to the fact that radiation is specific to one part of a patient’s body more specific side effects would be discussed prior to the start of treatment. It is important to state that whether your side effects are expected or unexpected you must always discuss them with your physicians. Advances in medication research have made it possible that many of the expected side effects can be controlled, some even before patients experience them.
Where can I go to Learn More about My Specific Diagnosis?
To learn more about your specific diagnosis first speak with your physician. At the Cancer Institute you will be provided with a packet of information specific to your diagnosis at the end of your new patient visit. To further your knowledge you will have access to our onsite Cancer Resource Library. Here you will be directed to written and online literature about your diagnosis from The American Cancer Society, and the National Cancer Institute, two very knowledgeable and trustworthy sources. In addition, you will find other resources to assist with most other aspects of your cancer care journey.