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What Expect

What to expect

Making the right decision

Choosing the right hospital is one of the most important decisions you make in your cancer journey. For many patients, consultations and treatments may take place at one of our hospitals. Depending on the type of cancer and treatment requirements, some patients may choose to be seen and/or treated at one of our outpatient care centers.

This chart explores the differences you may encounter at a community and/or research/academic hospital compared with a Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) hospital. Because every hospital is different, this information may not necessarily apply to all hospitals.

CTCA Hospitals Community & Research/Academic Hospitals
Cancer focus. CTCA® physicians focus on cancer and have expertise in treating many forms of cancer, including advanced-stage and complex cases, using advanced technologies. Range of medical conditions. Community hospitals treat a range of diseases and conditions other than cancer and may not be equipped to treat complex or rare cases of cancer.
Regional hospitals. CTCA has five cancer hospitals and various outpatient care centers located throughout the country. We offer services and amenities to help make travel as easy and affordable as possible for patients. Local convenience. Community hospitals are generally conveniently located, so you don't need to travel long distances for appointments and treatments.
Centralized treatment location. Patients have access to a wide range of tools and technologies to treat cancer and may be able to receive most or all their treatments in the same hospital or nearby outpatient cancer center. Various treatment locations. The technology available at community hospitals varies widely, so patients may have to go to other facilities and providers for treatments and needs that may not be met at their community hospital.
An integrative approach. Conventional treatments are integrated with supportive care services as part of each patient’s treatment plan, and all treatments are provided by a multidisciplinary care team. Isolated treatments. If supportive care services are available, the therapies may be offered by different providers in different locations, so treatments may not be integrated.
Collaboration. Each patient’s care team includes oncologists who work alongside supportive care practitioners, sharing knowledge and resources to determine a collaborative approach to managing treatment-related side effects. Dispersed providers. In general, oncologists are not trained to work with supportive care practitioners, which may make it difficult to manage the side effects of conventional treatments.
Whole-person support. CTCA makes a wide variety of supportive care services available to every patient to promote healing on all levels—body, mind and spirit. Separated support. Spiritual and emotional support may not be part of a patient’s cancer treatment plan.

A comprehensive evaluation

When you first arrive at CTCA, you may be assigned a nurse navigator to help you throughout the evaluation process. A care manager is available to answer your questions or to be there with you if you would just like to talk.

Your evaluation at CTCA may take several days. During that time, you’ll meet with your medical oncologist and other doctors and clinicians, who will review your medical history, perform health assessments and recommend diagnostic tests to determine the location, stage and extent of the cancer. You may also meet with a nurse, and depending on your needs and preferences, you may choose to see a registered dietitian, chiropractor and/or other supportive care service provider. Knowing as much as you can about your cancer type, stage and treatment options, and the side effects they may cause, may help you make more informed decisions about your care.

Once you and your medical oncologist decide which cancer treatments you’ll receive, you will have the option of meeting with a dietitian, massage therapist and other clinicians, who are experienced and trained in recommending therapies to support you during treatment and help you manage side effects. For example, our mind-body medicine, pain management and nutrition teams may work with you to provide relaxation techniques, medications and dietary supplements to help alleviate anxiety, discomfort or other symptoms you may be experiencing.

If you are looking for a second opinion, the experts at CTCA will perform a full evaluation, to confirm your diagnosis and help you understand the treatment options available to you. 

Reduced wait times for appointments and results

We understand that waiting for test results may create a great deal of stress. To ease anxiety and help begin your cancer treatment sooner, an onsite lab at each hospital enables us to provide reduced wait times for appointments and test results.

In some cases, patients who choose to treat at CTCA after their evaluation may begin treatment immediately.