What type of cancer do I have?
Your doctor will diagnose your cancer and likely give you some information about the type of cancer you have. The Patient Resource Cancer Guide provides you with additional information and online resources where you can find more complete information.
Start with the section, What Is Cancer? It gives you an overview of the major types of cancer and an insight into the causes of cancer.
Then go to the tab Screening & Staging and look for the list of cancer types for more specific information.
Where should I seek treatment?
You should go to a specialized cancer treatment center to obtain the best possible care for your cancer. Cancer treatment centers may be freestanding facilities or they may be affiliated with a community hospital or a medical center that trains new doctors (academic teaching hospitals).
For more information read the section titled What is Right for You?
Then go to the section titled NCI-designited Cancer Centers for a list of cancer treatment facilities organized by state and city. We also provide a complete list of all Cancer Treatment Facilities organized by city and state.
How many cancer specialists will need to be involved in my care? What type of health-care providers will I be working with?
You will need a team of cancer specialists to diagnose and treat your cancer. The number of doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals on the team may vary depending on the type of cancer you have. For more information about various types of cancer specialists, read the section titled Finding Your Medical Team.
Your family doctor can refer you to a cancer specialist or group of specialists with experience in treating your type of cancer. Also ask friends, family and coworkers if they know of an experienced cancer specialist they can recommend. Your local hospital or medical center should have a referral service that will provide you with a list of cancer specialists affiliated with that institution.
Some organizations also list cancer specialists. For example, the American Society of Clinical Oncology lists its members by specialty and geographical area (see Trusted Sources for Information).
What are my treatment choices?
Your team of cancer specialists will recommend the best treatment options for your type of cancer, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or some combination. For an overview of your treatment choices, download free Treatment Charts and also be sure to review the Treatment Side Effects section so you are prepared.
What is a clinical trial? Are there any clinical trials that I might consider?
Cancer clinical trials are cancer research studies that involve people. The main purpose of a clinical trial is to find a better way to prevent, diagnose or treat a disease. Clinical trials are part of a long, careful research process. Most clinical trials evaluate new drugs or procedures, but some evaluate drugs or procedures that have already received approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
For information about clinical trials and some Internet-based resources for finding clinical trials, go to Clinical Trials: Interpreting the Data and The Importance of Clinical Trials.
Should I get a second or third opinion? If so, where should I go?
Once you are diagnosed with cancer, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to seek a second or even third opinion from a qualified cancer specialist. The second doctor will either confirm the diagnosis and the recommended treatment plan or give you a different opinion about the diagnosis and treatment plan.
You can find information and resources about obtaining a second or third opinion in the section, Seeking A Second Opinion.
What resources are available to help me and my family find emotional, financial and practical support?
One thing is certain: You will need support from family, friends and strangers to help you get through the emotional and financial challenges, as well as the everyday practical concerns, associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.
To help you find the resources you may need to meet these challenges, go to Self Advocacy for advice on being your own advocate and also review Finding Caregivers and Counselors. You can also find advice on Finding Financial Resources to help you pay for care.
Are there support groups for people with my type of cancer?
Support groups offer you the chance to talk with others who are facing the same challenges and share knowledge about your cancer. Review the listing of support group web sites at Online Resources and Support Groups.
Will diet and exercise help?
Proper nutrition and exercise will help you get through your treatment and improve your health. Read the Nutrition and Exercise section for information about nutrition, diet and exercise.
How can I learn to be an active participant in my care? How do I find reliable information on the Internet?
A diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming. You may not know what questions to ask, what resources are available or where to begin. This website can help guide you. Read the section titled Self Advocacy - A Key to Success.
Then visit the Online Resources and Support Groups section for access to thousands of Internet resources, each of which has been reviewed and evaluated to ensure that the information is reliable.