What to expect
No matter how you look at it, having cancer is scary. Knowing what to expect will help you feel a little more prepared. Below is brief overview of how things work. Your Children’s Minnesota care team will be there to provide more information, guidance and answers to questions along the way.
The cancer treatment process
Treatment for cancer has predictable phases, each with challenges and decisions to be made.
- Diagnosis: After some tests—such as blood draws, diagnostic imaging (like x-rays) or biopsies (surgeries or procedures that remove cancer cells)—you’ll meet with your care team to discuss test results and figure out a plan for your care.
- Treatment: During the treatment phase, we put your care plan into action. Your Children’s care team will provide:
- Major treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery.
- Services to manage symptoms and side effects of treatment, including physical therapy, nutrition therapy and integrative medicine techniques.
- Resources to help you (and your family) tackle emotional and social aspects of your care.
- Recovery: After treatment, you’ll work with our STAR (surveillance and testing after recovery) Clinic team to create a “survivorship plan” to help you get back to your life. The plan will help independently manage your recovery with nutrition, exercise plans and information on how to recognize possible side effects from treatment.
- Long-term care for survivors: Finishing treatment is a major milestone. People who have been cured of cancer may be affected for months or years by their disease or treatment they received. Children’s Long-Term Follow-Up (LTFU) Program monitors cancer survivors for late effects and addresses any problems that may occur.
During your treatment, you may also be enrolled in one or more clinical trials—research studies designed to test new therapies for cancer, improve existing treatments and enhance the quality of life for those living with cancer. Clinical trials are an important treatment option for cancer patients of all ages, and patients who participate often have better results than those that don’t.
At Children’s Minnesota, access to clinical trials is a priority. There are currently more than 100 research studies in the cancer and blood disorders program actively enrolling patients. Children’s Open Studies search tool allows you to search by blood disorder or cancer diagnosis to see open treatment studies. Talk to your care team to find out if a clinical trial is right for you.