A diagnosis of cancer can be extremely distressing. It is important to make rapid decisions about how to deal with the condition. Many cancers can be treated successfully, but the earlier intervention takes place, the more likely it is there will be a positive outcome.
The doctor who tells you that you are ill will be able to outline your options. That doctor, who may or may not be a cancer specialist, will likely have dealt with many people with similar conditions to yours, and is best placed to advise you on what you should do next. If it is your general practitioner who informs you of your diagnosis, he or she may refer you to an oncologist with whom you can discuss treatment options. Feel free to ask your doctor any questions.
Your cancer treatment may not require that you have to stay in hospital. If you need surgery, it is likely that you will have to spend some nights in hospital. However, for other types of cancer treatment, including radiation therapy and chemical therapy, most treatments are carried out on an outpatient basis.
If there is no facility near your home that is equipped to provide you with your specific care, you will need to make travel arrangements to attend a center elsewhere. This may limit your choice of center. You may also be limited in the care you can receive locally. For example, if there is a specialist cancer treatment center where you live, it may not be equipped to offer the treatment your specific cancer requires.
There are some accreditation programs that you can check to get independent opinions on the types of care offered by surgery centers. For example, the Commission on Cancer publishes lists of accredited cancer treatment centers. However, just because a treatment center is not included does not mean it should be ignored.
If your treatment is not fully covered by medical insurance, the cost of treatment will be a factor in your choice. You may find that smaller, dedicated cancer treatment centers are more cost-competitive than larger institutions. Smaller units tend to have better control over costs, and they are able to pay these savings on to their patients.
Finally, you can find out if there are any local cancer support groups in your area. You can contact these and ask people for their recommendations of local treatment centers.