For Your First Visit
As a new patient at Compass Oncology, we want you to feel comfortable, cared for, and informed. Prior to your first visit and to reduce your wait time, you may wish to print and complete our new patient forms in their entirety, then bring them to your first appointment. You will also need to discuss these items with your physician.
We recommend you bring another person with you to your first appointment, which may last 1-2 hours.
Your first oncology appointment could include the following:
- Meeting and new-patient evaluation with your physician.
- Any additional tests needed for an accurate diagnosis to help guide your treatment plan.
- Meeting with your nurse and other members of your care team.
- Meeting with one of our patient benefits representatives to discuss your insurance and billing questions.
We also encourage you to review the frequently asked questions below, which you may wish to discuss with your nurse or physician during your visit. We also have a very of resources available to patients based on their specific cancer type.
Frequently Asked Questions for Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients
Are all tumors cancerous?
No. Some tumors are benign (noncancerous) and do not spread to other parts of the body. Cancerous tumors are called malignant.
How many people have cancer?
More than one million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Almost half of American men and one-third of American women will have some type of cancer at some point during their lifetime. While anyone can get cancer at any age, about 77% of all cancers are diagnosed in people age of 55 and older, and the rate of occurrence varies by racial and ethnic groups.
Is there a cure for cancer?
Today, a cure may be available depending on the cancer type and its extent. Tremendous scientific advances have significantly improved patient survival rates, and many patients today will never have a recurrence of their disease. However, even after successful treatment, there may remain cancerous or precancerous cells in the body. Cancer patients must maintain a high level of vigilance for the rest of their life, as the risk still remains. Clearly, this question is best left to a discussion with your oncologist.
What are the risk factors for cancer?
Risk factors vary by kind of cancer. A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of getting a disease. Some risk factors can be negated, such as factors in the environment or lifestyle choices, and others, such as age, family history, and race, cannot.
What are the benefits of community-based cancer care?
The convenience of community-based cancer care enables patients to access the most advanced cancer technologies in one location within their communities. This helps eliminate the burden of extensive travel to distant or multiple locations. In addition, an integrated setting facilitates the close coordination of all aspects of the patient’s care. It also allows patients to be near their supportive circle of friends and family during their treatment.
What are the different types of cancer?
The five main types of cancers are carcinoma, sarcoma, lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma.
- Carcinomas are the most common types of cancer. They arise from the cells that cover external and internal body surfaces such as the skin, lung, breast, and colon.
- Sarcomas are cancers arising from cells found in the supporting tissues of the body such as bone, cartilage, fat, connective tissue, and muscle.
- Lymphomas are cancers that arise in the lymph nodes and tissues of the body's immune system.
- Leukemia is cancer that starts in immature blood cells that grow in the bone marrow and causes abnormal blood cells to accumulate in large numbers in the bloodstream.
- Myeloma is cancer that develops in the plasma cells of bone marrow.
What are the signs and symptoms of cancer?
The signs and symptoms vary depending on the specific kind of cancer, but there are some general signs and symptoms that may indicate a need for testing. These include fatigue, a sore that does not heal, nagging cough, pain, unexplained weight loss, fever, and changes on the skin. Although there could be other reasons for these signs and symptoms, anyone experiencing these should consult their physician.
What are the treatment options for cancer?
Standard types of treatment for cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy. These treatments may be used alone, but often combined to maximize the patients’ long-term survival. Surgery and radiation therapy are considered local treatments, as they target the cancer cells in the tumor and near it. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy are systemic treatments, meaning they travel through the bloodstream reaching cancer cells all over the body. Patients should work closely with their Oncologist to determine the best-individualized treatment options.
What causes cancer?
Cancer cells develop because of damage to DNA, a substance in every cell that directs all activity of the cell. Usually, when DNA becomes damaged, the body is able to repair it; however, sometimes it is not repaired and the cell becomes abnormal. Scientists are working to better understand what causes DNA to become damaged. Some people inherit damaged DNA, which accounts for inherited cancers. More often, though, a person's DNA becomes damaged by environmental factors or individual behaviors such as smoking.
What is cancer?
Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control. These cancer cells, which can originate almost anywhere in the body, can invade nearby tissues and can spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.
What is community-based cancer care?
Community-based cancer care integrates all aspects of outpatient cancer care, from laboratory and diagnostic imaging capabilities to chemotherapy and radiation therapy in treatment centers located within patients’ communities. It is based on the concept that providing convenient, high-quality care closer to patients and their support networks aid the maintenance of the quality of life and improve patient adherence to therapy, a crucial element in the treatment process.
What is remission?
Remission is a decrease in or disappearance of signs and symptoms of cancer. In partial remission, some, but not all, signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared. In complete remission, all signs and symptoms of cancer have disappeared, although cancer still may be in the body.
What is staging?
Staging is the process of determining how far the cancer has spread. It is important to know the stage of the cancer before determining which treatment options are best. Most often, physicians use the TNM system for staging. This system gives three key pieces of information:
- T describes the size of the tumor and whether the cancer has spread to nearby tissue and organs.
- N describes how far the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- M shows whether the cancer has spread (metastasized) to other organs of the body.
What is the survival rate for cancer?
Survival rates vary by kind of cancer, but for all cancers diagnosed between 1996 and 2002, the 5-year relative survival rate is 66%, up from 51% between 1975 and 1977. This increase is largely attributed to earlier detection and new or improved treatments.
Who is The US Oncology Network?
What support and services does The US Oncology Network provide?
Through a strategic alliance, they provide our practices with unparalleled access to world-class management services and clinical support and resources. These services include complete non-medical business functions for our locations, such as billing and collections, patient data management, and accounting. They also provide us with access to one of the largest cancer research networks and advances therapies so that we may offer them to our patients. Their extensive network of more than 1,000 physicians and 2,500 nurses allows us to regularly interact with many leading cancer experts to share learning and tap into the latest thinking on patient care. Finally, their extensive reimbursement expertise enables us to help you obtain the maximum coverage from your medical insurance plan and hopefully reduce the financial burden of treatment.