Medical Oncology: Treatment Planning
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When you arrive at the hospital
When you arrive at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center, the first place you will visit is the Outpatient Clinic located on the first floor of the hospital. This is where all of your scheduling will take place. The Outpatient Clinic, which is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., is also the home of the Department of Medical Oncology.
Your first appointment at Eastern will be with a medical oncologist. This meeting will include a consultation and evaluation, consisting of a physical examination and a series of labs, X-rays, biopsies, and other diagnostic tests. This will help give your medical oncologist an overall picture of your current health status, medical history, and an indication of the treatment options best suited to you.
Following your visit with a medical oncologist, you will meet individually with CTCA clinicians from various other disciplines. “Every patient meets with a medical oncologist first. From that point, everything else occurs. The patient is sent to the other appropriate clinical areas,” says Dr. Willis.
These meetings will take place over the course of about three to five days and will culminate in a presentation of your recommended cancer treatment plan. Thus, the comprehensive evaluation period serves an important purpose. It allows your CTCA care team to tailor your treatment plan to your individual needs.
Developing your treatment plan
One of the tools your medical oncologist may use to develop your treatment plan is the Extreme Drug Resistance (EDR) Assay, also called chemoresistance. The EDR assay is a highly accurate tool CTCA clinicians use to test solid tumors outside of the body for resistance to specific chemotherapeutic drugs.
By testing the drugs outside of the body, your clinicians can determine whether the drugs will work if administered in the body. Thus, the EDR assay avoids unnecessary toxicity to you. It also allows your care team to consider protocols for other, more appropriate treatments.