Frequently Asked Questions
A diagnosis of cancer usually raises many questions. Below are answers to some common questions. Please contact your oncologist and cancer nurse specialist to discuss other concerns or questions you may have.
Where can I find information about cancer specialists at CDH?
Our online "Find a Doctor" tool can help you view profiles of individual physicians who specialize in oncology/hematology. View a list of Oncology/Hematology physicians who are on staff at CDH.
Where do I go for chemotherapy at CDH?
Chemotherapy is done at the CDH Cancer Center in Warrenville. You will check in on the second floor and then be escorted to the Infusion Center.
Transportation is a problem for me. Are there organizations to help me get to radiation or chemotherapy appointments?
Yes. Local chapters of the American Cancer Society (ACS) may be able to help. In DuPage County, the ACS offers Road to Recovery, a program that provides transportation assistance. For information about Road to Recovery, call 630-932-1141.
I would like a second opinion, but don’t want to make my doctor mad. What should I do?
Getting a second opinion is common practice in cancer care, so you should not feel guilty about seeking a second opinion. Your oncologist wants you to have peace of mind about the treatment plan you choose. If you need help in seeking a second opinion, talk with your physician.
What is an oncologist? Why do I need one?
Medical, surgical and radiation oncologists are physicians who specialize in the study and treatment of cancers. Oncologists are medical school graduates who have completed a residency program and fellowships with specialty training in cancer care.
Medical oncologists specialize in treating cancer with medicine/chemotherapy. Surgical oncologists specialize in surgical aspects of cancer treatment including biopsy, staging and surgical resection (removal) of tumors. Radiation oncologists specialize in treating cancer with therapeutic radiation. All of these specialists may participate in the care of a cancer patient.
Additionally, pediatric oncologists treat children with cancer. Pediatric oncologists often incorporate all three primary disciplines (medical, surgical and radiation) in the care of their young patients. Pediatric oncologists need additional skills because children with cancer face unique problems that require specialized care across the entire spectrum of treatment.
I live in the suburbs and would rather receive my cancer treatment near home, where it’s more convenient. Should I go to a big cancer center in the city to get the newest treatment?
Where you receive your care is a matter of personal preference. Dedicated community cancer treatment centers now offer most of the same treatments you would find in an academic medical setting. These community cancer centers have an excellent staff of highly skilled physicians who are board-certified and experienced in treating cancer. Local treatment may offer better quality of life because of decreased travel time, ease of access and a closer, long-term relationship with the oncology interdisciplinary team.
What foods should I eat?
Your first, best source for information about your diet during cancer treatment is your doctor. You also can talk to an oncology nutrition specialist who can help you understand your individual needs.
Eating a balanced diet with foods from all food groups will help you meet your body’s vitamin and mineral needs. Tomatoes, grapes, carrots, yams, cantaloupe, butternut squash, strawberries, apples, berries, citrus fruits, hot peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, garlic, onion, nuts, soybeans, beans, peas, lentils, ground flaxseed, whole wheat, barley, brown rice and green tea have been found to contain chemicals that have antioxidant activity, stimulate anti-cancer enzymes or act as a cancer inhibitor. However, breast and ovarian cancer survivors should first check with their physician before including soybeans, soy products or flax into their diet.
Most people with cancer require an increase in dietary protein. Foods such as lean beef, lean pork, lean lamb, lean chicken, fish, shellfish and eggs are high in protein. Dairy foods such as milk, cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, pudding, ice cream and custard are also good sources of protein. Protein can also be added to the diet with the addition of beans, nuts, seeds and nut butters. Powdered protein supplements added to milk, soup, juice and yogurt are helpful, especially when your appetite is decreased.
Fatty fish such as tuna, sardines, mackerel and salmon as well as almonds, walnuts and canola oil are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids enhance our immune function and are linked to weight gain and reduced muscle wasting during cancer treatment.
Should I take vitamin and mineral supplements?
It’s important that you talk to your doctor before taking any supplements. There is no scientific evidence that dietary supplements or herbs can cure cancer or prevent reoccurrence. Some nutrients have shown no benefit when taken in amounts more than the body’s requirements. In fact, one large study demonstrated the risk of taking large doses of vitamins; patients receiving the vitamin supplement fared much worse than those who did not receive the supplement. Taking large doses of one vitamin or mineral can cause deficiencies in another and can also interfere with other medications in addition to the chemotherapy.
Multivitamin and mineral supplements that provide 100 percent of the daily requirements are likely safe. However, they may not be necessary if you are eating a well balanced diet and maintaining your weight. A Registered Dietitian can evaluate your diet for deficiencies.