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The Center for Cancer Care is just one facet of the comprehensive care provided by Canton-Potsdam Hospital and the St. Lawrence Health System. To learn more about the services they provide, visit the CPH home page.
FAQs - Treating Cancer

Q: I had a biopsy and it showed cancer on the pathology. What is next?
A: The medical oncologist may want you to get further tests, including a PET scan or other imaging study, or take additional tissues from the tumor for further analysis. Dr. Velmalia Matthews-Smith will meet with you once she's received all your information. She will explain your diagnosis and treatment options

Q: How long before I can see the medical oncologist?
A: The time between your referral and your first meeting with the medical oncologist depends on the time it takes to conduct the apppropriate tests and determine a diagnosis.

Q: I hear that chemotherapy is worse than the cancer. How sick am I going to get?
A: Not all chemotherapies will make you feel ill. We will discuss the likely side effects of your chemotherapy so that you can can be prepared, and we will make sure to proactively address the side effects you feel during treatment.

FAQs - Radiation

Q: Am I going to feel anything?
A: No, you will not feel anything during your treatment. Radiation cannot be seen, heard, or felt. You will only hear the normal, operational sounds of the machine during treatment delivery. 

Q: How long is my treatment going to last?
A: The number of times you receive treatment is carefully determined by the radiation oncologist, and depends on your diagnosis, the cancer's stage and grade, if you are undergoing concurrent treatments, and your individualized care plan. Each radiation treatment lasts between three and fifteen minutes. 

Q: Can you tell if the treatment is working?
A: There is no absolute way to measure the effectiveness of treatment while you are getting regular radiation. In most cases, patients will undergo follow-up procedures once their treatments are complete to determine how the body responded to treatment. 

Q: What side effects will I experience from radiation?
A: Radiation therapy is site-specific. This means that side effects will likely occur in and around the area we're treating. For example, if a patient is undergoing radiation treatments for a lung mass, they may experience a sore throat. Some patients report skin irritation at the site of radiation, and many feel fatigued after treatment. Most side effects can be easily managed by our radiation oncologist and nurse.

Q: Can I drive to and from my radiation appointments?
A: Unless you have been told otherwise, yes. Radiation therapy, in most cases, will not affect your daily life or routines.

Q: Am I going to get the same treatment here as I would at a regional academic medical center?
A: At the Center for Cancer Care we possess a state-of-the-art linear accelerator that rivals its most advanced competitors. In the majority of cases, we are able to treat with the same effectiveness, accuracy, and with the same technology that a patient would find at a large facility.