If you are an emergency case requiring immediate attention, please call 911 or your local hospital.
How promptly can an appointment be scheduled?
Getting a cancer diagnosis from your doctor is life-changing, and we recognize the importance of your getting an appointment as soon as possible. Accommodating new and exiting patients is a priority, and we will schedule an appointment for you at your earliest convenience.
What can I expect at an appointment?
When you arrive at the Southwest Cancer Care, the staff will greet you and seat you at the waiting room. We will examine you as quick as possible – average waiting time is 15 minutes.
What happens if I am a new patient?
You may have referred yourself, have been referred by another physician or by your medical insurance. We will discuss your problem and ask about your medical history. A thorough examination will then follow. We may request examinations and tests to assist and support our diagnosis.
If you have previous examinations and tests related to your current condition, please bring those along to the consultation. Also bring any copies of letters from other doctors or recent medication. It will help us to help you.
Can I bring anyone to my appointment?
Please bring only close family members or caregivers.
Will I be allowed to eat during my infusion?
What can I do during my appointment?
Here are some ideas you may want to consider:
Use the time to relax. Take a nap.
Listen to music on your mp3 player (please be sure to bring headphones).
Watch a movie on a portable DVD player (please be sure to bring headphones).
Catch up on some reading.
Do a crossword puzzle, word search, etc.
Work on your laptop— Southwest Cancer Care offers free Wi-Fi access to patients and guests
I've been referred for hematology - does that mean I have cancer?
Absolutely not! Physicians may make a referral to our clinic in any case where they need hematology services. Many hematology conditions are benign but some can be cancerous. Dr. Sindhu is very sensitive to this matter and will explain the different between these terms very clearly during your visit.
What is a CBC (Complete Blood Count) and why do we do them?
1. A CBC measures the white blood cells (wbc), red blood cells (hemoglobin and hematocrit) and platelets in the blood.
2. White blood cells help fight infection, red blood cells carry oxygen to the tissues and platelets help with clotting of the blood.
3. If your physician has ordered this test it is important to have your blood drawn as scheduled.
4. CBC’s are necessary prior to each chemotherapy treatment to assess the treatment’s success in your bone marrow.
How does chemotherapy work?
Chemotherapy is designed to kill cancer cells. Depending on which drug is used, chemotherapy can be administered through a vein, injected into a body cavity, or delivered orally in the form of a pill.
Chemotherapy works by destroying cancer cells but unfortunately, it cannot tell the difference between a cancer cell and healthy cells. So chemotherapy eliminates not only the fast-growing cancer cells but also other fast-growing cells in your body including hair and blood cells.
Some cancer cells grow slowly while others grow rapidly. Therefore, each chemotherapy drug is designed to target the growth patterns of a specific type of cancer cell. As a result, each drug works differently and is effective at specific times in a cancer cell’s life cycle. Your doctor determines the chemotherapy drug that is right for you.
What can chemotherapy achieve?
Some kinds of cancer can actually be cured with chemotherapy. Many others can be put in remission, which means shrunken partially and prevented from growing for a period of time. When the tumor shrinks so much that it cannot be detected by examination and x-rays, it is called a “complete remission.” A complete remission does not necessarily mean cure.
Who administers chemotherapy/infusions?
You will find that Southwest Cancer Care puts the safety of our patients as our utmost priority. Infusions and injections are administered by licensed and skilled members of the Southwest Cancer Care team. Our infusion center is staffed by a registered nurse with experience in administering a variety of infusions including but not limited to immunotherapy, hormonal therapy, biologic therapy, chemotherapy, iron, and other infusions. All treatment is supervised by doctors with specific training and expertise in prescribing and managing these treatments.
How long will treatments last?
There are few hard and fast rules on how often chemotherapy is given, as every tumor is different. Every chemotherapy treatment is tailored to fit your disease. Many kinds of chemotherapy are given every three weeks, but sometimes a better result can come from smaller doses every week.
When will we know if the chemotherapy is working?
Your physician has outlined a treatment plan for you and will do follow up tests (ex: CT scan, x-ray, MRI, PET-CT) as warranted and depending on your cancer diagnosis at different intervals during your therapy. This will vary from patient to patient.
How soon will I get sick?
Nausea or vomiting after chemotherapy has been greatly minimized with the use of anti-nausea drugs that have been developed in the past several years for chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. Your physician chooses the most appropriate anti-nausea medication according to the type of chemotherapy you receive. Not all chemotherapies cause nausea and vomiting. If you experience these symptoms, please call your doctor or nurse.
How soon will my hair fall out?
IF your chemotherapy causes hair loss, it usually starts to come out within 2 weeks of the first treatment. Some chemotherapies do not cause hair loss, some cause thinning and some cause complete loss.
Why am I losing my hair?
Hair loss is a side effect of SOME chemotherapy agents and is only temporary. Please ask your doctor or nurse if the drugs you are receiving will cause hair loss. You hair will grow back after treatments are completed.
What can I do about my hair loss?
You can obtain wigs/turbans from many sources. Ask your doctor or nurse for a list of resources.
What can I do about loss of appetite?
1. Loss of appetite is a normal side effect of chemotherapy and sometimes is the result of your disease. Chemotherapy may also change your taste buds – favorite foods may now become tasteless or even disliked.
2. Make every effort to eat balanced meals on a regular basis even when you prefer not to eat or do not feel hungry.
3. Ask to talk with one of our dietitians. A dietitian can offer nutritional advice, programs and supplements.
What do I do for fatigue and weakness?
1. If you are on chemotherapy, fatigue and weakness are common side effects and sometimes the result of your disease. Try to continue to eat balanced meals and get plenty of rest. Try to maintain your normal activities if possible. Allow yourself time to rest between activities.
2. Inform your doctor or nurse if condition persists.
What do I do about mouth sores?
1. Call and inform your doctor or nurse about the sores.
2. Mouth sores are a side effect of some chemotherapies and are unrelated to anything you may or may not have done.
How long does it take for my test results?
Many lab tests become available within one business day of being drawn. At Southwest Cancer Care, we want our patients to have every opportunity for the most customized and most advanced treatment possible. For this reason, we may need to order some very specialized tests which are performed at only a few specialized laboratories in the country. Certain lab results can take more than 7 to 10 business days to become available. We know how anxiety-provoking it can be to wait so long for results. Please be assured that we will make every effort to share results with patients as soon as they become available.
Is exercise recommended during treatment?
Yes, exercise has been shown to be safe for people going through active cancer treatments, and in fact can be one of the best ways to relieve some of the symptoms associated with your cancer or cancer treatment.
Our physicians thoroughly research chemotherapy treatment options for their patients to find the right balance of therapy effectiveness while minimizing side effects for each patient. As a result of these efforts, patients can maintain a productive lifestyle and integrate exercise into their lives while in treatment.
Is it possible to continue working while in treatment?
Yes, many of our patients remain in their jobs and maintain a productive lifestyle during treatment. Our physicians are dedicated to finding the most effective balance of drug therapy to fight the cancer, yet minimally impact our patients’ daily routines, including work.
Is it recommended to tell my doctor if I have side effects from treatment?
Yes, telling your doctor about side effects is essential to getting good care and living as fully as possible. Untreated side effects can drain you physically and emotionally and detract from your healing. Your response to therapy is unique, and your doctors rely upon your telling them about your side effects.
How is cancer pain managed?
Pain control often starts with medicine. Many drugs are used to treat pain which the patient and their doctor determine and alter as pain level changes. Our palliative care department will find the best treatment for you.
How do staging and grading cancer affect treatment?
Knowing the stage and grade of a person’s cancer helps doctors know what treatment to use and determine outcome. Staging reveals how far cancer has spread and grading helps predict how fast the cancer will grow and spread.
Cancer is typically staged as:
Stage 0: Cancer hasn’t spread.
Stages I, II, and III: Cancer has grown or has spread into nearby tissues and perhaps lymph nodes. The higher the stage, the farther the cancer has spread.
Stage IV: Cancer has spread beyond the lymph nodes into other parts of the body (metastasized).
How am I managing my progress?
It is very important to document your side effects, including the date, time and frequency, and severity (mild or strong). You should also monitor your blood count changes to ensure treatment remains on schedule. Much information will be available in our Patient Portal.