Frequently Asked Questions about FLHO, Cancer Treatment, Blood Disorder Treatment

Frequently Asked Questions about FLHO, Cancer Treatment,
Blood Disorder Treatment

   

Cancer Treatment FAQs


What is cancer?

Cancer develops when cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control. Although there are many kinds of cancer, they all start because of out-of-control growth of abnormal cells. For more information, please visit The American Cancer Society: What Is Cancer?.


There are more than 100 different kinds of cancer, each following a different course, affecting different parts of the body, and responding to different types or combinations of treatment. The following are some general names of benign and malignant tumors:

  • Adenoma, usually a benign tumor from a gland.
  • Blastoma, a malignant tumor with undeveloped characteristics; for example, medulloblastoma or glioblastoma multiforme.
  • Carcinoma, a malignant tumor that arises from skin or the lining of the digestive, respiratory, and urogenital systems.
  • Sarcoma, a malignancy of connective tissue, blood vessels, or the lymph system.
  • Glioma, can be benign or malignant, is a general name for a tumor that arises from the supportive tissue of the brain.

Can cancer be cured?

Many people with cancer can be cured. Many others have disease which can be controlled for many years. There are more people living today who are cured of cancer than at any other time in our history.


How is treatment of cancer decided?

Quite a few factors enter into the decision of how to treat someone's cancer. This cancer article by the Mayo Clinic covers the various aspects of this decision.


What are the major methods of cancer treatment?

The current major methods of cancer treatment are surgery, radiation, chemotherapy (intravenous, injection, and oral), immunotherapy, and others. Additional treatments are available for specific cancers. The American Cancer Society has a web page that explains these options and when they are used.


What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a treatment with drugs to kill cancer cells or interfere with their ability to grow and multiply. Although these drugs may affect other cells in the body, they are most effective against rapidly growing cells. Since cancer cells grow more quickly than most other body cells they are become the target.


How often is chemotherapy given?

You may take chemo once a day, once a week, or even once a month, depending on the type of cancer you have and the chemo you are taking. How long you take chemo also depends on the type of cancer, how you respond to the drugs, and what length of time research has shown produces the best treatment results.


What are the side effects? What can be done about those?

The American Cancer Society has a web page (scroll down a couple times) that explains side effects and how they can be managed should they occur.


What lifestyle impacts are there due to chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy affects people differently when it comes to side effects and their impact on daily life. The same ACS web page listed in the above answer also looks at sexuality and effects on your family.

Cancer has emotional effects on you and your family as well. Sharing your feelings with family, friends, or a support group may be helpful. Counseling and spiritual support can give guidance and comfort. FLHO may be able to refer you to resources.

You can also take advantage of the Internet to more easily keep family and friends updated about your condition and treatment. Caring Bridge, www.caringbridge.org, offers free web sites that are easy to set up and use for just such purposes. No programming knowledge or special software is needed. It is all done via a personal login and password through any computer connected to the Internet that has browser software installed. This site has the added convenience of allowing you to control who sees the site.


Is chemotherapy expensive?

Treatment of cancer via chemotherapy can be costly. It requires complicated and powerful drugs as well as the services of many health-care professionals. The exact cost of your chemotherapy will depend on the type and number of treatments you need. Most health insurance policies cover charges for chemotherapy. FLHO's billing department will help you understand your health insurance policy, the costs of treatment, and how expected costs will be paid.


I have more questions that aren't answered here.

Please be sure to talk with your FLHO doctor and nurses about any questions that you may have. They are experts in every aspect of chemotherapy cancer treatment and can direct you to the best sources of information. Our billing department is also expert in the financial and insurance aspects of chemotherapy treatment. All FLHO staff members and phone numbers are listed on our Contact Us page.



Blood Disorder FAQs


What blood disorders does FLHO treat?

Anemia: Anemia is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or the amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen in them) is low. More information: Online Merck Manuals Home Edition—Anemia.


Myelodysplasic Syndromes (MDS): MDS refers to a treatable disease that affects the blood and bone marrow (which produces such cells as stem cells, blasts, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets).

With MDS, the bone marrow does not stop making cells altogether. MDS usually causes the marrow to make fewer cells, and the cells it does make don't always work the way they should. While the cause is not known in about 80% of MDS cases, a person who has had chemotherapy may be more likely to get it.

Myeloproliferative Disorders (MPD): Myeloproliferative disorders are a group of conditions that cause an overproduction of blood cells—platelets, white blood cells, and red blood cells—in the bone marrow. Though myeloproliferative disorders are serious, and may pose particular health risks, individuals with these conditions often live for many years after diagnosis. These include the classic myeloproliferative disorders:

Philadelphia chromosome-negative:
  • Essential Thrombocythemia (ET)
  • Myelofibrosis (MF)
  • Polycythemia Vera (PV)
Philadelphia chromosome-positive:
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)
For more information, please visit these sites or contact FLHO:
  • Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation: www.aamds.org.
  • Myelodysplasic Syndromes Foundation: www.mds-foundation.org.
  • mdpinfo.org: This site about MPD is run by the CMPD Education Foundation.
  • mdpinfo.org: This site about MPD, its symptoms and treatments is run by the University of Maryland Medical Center.


Did you know...

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 10.5 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive in January 2003. Some of these individuals were cancer-free, while others still had evidence of cancer and may have been undergoing treatment.

The 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 1996 and 2002 is 66%, up from 51% in 1975-1977. The improvement in survival reflects progress in diagnosing certain cancers at an earlier stage and improvements in treatment. (This statistic does not represent a prediction.)

 


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