Frequently Asked Questions and Cancer Information Resources
At any point in your cancer recovery, coping with stress and anxiety, managing pain, figuring out what you can eat, transitioning to routine (or a "new normal"), and trying to juggle the financial burden can become overwhelming. St. Vincent Cancer Care has many types of Support Services under the direction of our Palliative Care Medical Director and Cancer care Support Services staff. Ask your physician for a referral to any of these services. For more information call the Survivorship Navigator at 317-338-3551.
- Pain Management from medication and treatment side effects
- Coping with sadness and depression as a by-product of your cancer
- Oncology Nutritionist helps patients reach healthy diet goals
- Social services for home care
- Coping with the financial burden of the cancer journey
- Managing long-term illnesses with Palliative Care and/or Hospice
- Survivorship Navigation and engaging in support programs that help patients thrive
St. Vincent's Health Information Library is a convenient patient-friendly resource for understanding medical terms. The St. Vincent Cancer Center lobby (Harcourt Rd.,Indianapolis campus) also includes a National Cancer Institute touch screen computer with cancer information at your fingertips. The staff is happy to help you. This information can also be printed for your convenience. Additional Indiana and National cancer information resources are listed after the FAQ section on this page.
Frequently Asked Questions
As you prepare for your next physician appointment, consider these questions and ask your cancer care physician and nurses if Support Services may be helpful in your recovery and promote a greater quality of life.
Cancer-related pain and distress
Q. How can I better manage my cancer pain and the side effects from the treatment plan?
A. You don't have to suffer with pain. Cancer Care programs can help manage and control cancer-related pain to heal and move forward. That is why a part of your St. Vincent Cancer Care treatment plan and ongoing follow-up includes a pain management plan. Just as each cancer experience is different, so is each patient's response to pain and medications. Don't wait too long for the pain to become intolerable. Other Support Services such as, aromatherapy, massage, yoga, meditation, art therapy, pet therapy and counseling can contribute to overall pain management. Keep a log or journal and write down the times and circumstances that amplify symptoms and pain and share that with your Cancer Care Team.
Q. Sometimes this cancer journey is too overwhelming and makes me sad and anxious, will that feeling going away?
A. You have to find a balance. Surviving cancer and living well is a team activity between YOU, St. Vincent Cancer Care Physicians, Patient Navigators and the Support Services associates, your primary care physician, and your home-front caregivers. We understand the burden of cancer and the pain it causes physically, mentally and to our spirit. St. Vincent's holistic approach of healing the body, mind and spirit is focused on all three. There are answers to your questions. Call 317-338-3900 to talk to a patient navigator.
Q. Is there anyone who can assist me with my diet while I go through surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy?
A. Here at St Vincent's we understand that there are many side effects to cancer that can affect eating habits. Our Oncology Dietitian helps patients manage nutrition-related side effects such as nausea, vomiting, taste change, decreased appetite, and swelling. St Vincent Cancer Care in Indianapolis is home to one of the few board-certified specialists in Oncology Nutrition in Indiana. An Oncology Dietitian helps patients maintain lean body mass, minimize nutrition-related side effects, reach nutrition goals and maximize quality living. This service is available for individual consultation during any stage of cancer and can help you maintain a diet that is not only helpful to the healing process, but also enables patients to fight fatigue. For an appointment, ask your St. Vincent physician to make the referral, 317-415-6760.
Q. Why are dietary changes so important while undergoing treatment for cancer?
A. Just like any other surgery, surgery associated with cancer treatment takes a lot out of patients, as does any other kind of radiation. Each patient reacts differently to the medicine used and the changes occurring to the body. Patients may experience nausea, vomiting, change in bowel habits, changes in taste or smell, appetite changes, trouble swallowing, heartburn, etc. Altering your diets while undergoing treatment may deter some of these side effects. It is very important that the body is receiving plenty of nutrients and you stay hydrated. By working with the St. Vincent Oncology Dietitian at the St. Vincent Cancer Center in Indianapolis, patients are able to create a personalized meal plan and manage side effects in order to reduce the strain on the body. To learn more call 317-415-6760.
Financial burden of Cancer Care
Q. Who do I talk to about financial concerns and how to manage my care at home?
St. Vincent Cancer Care has oncology trained clinical social workers who are a vital member of the care team and support the patients home, workplace and connects with services in the community. Many of the Cancer Care Patient Navigators are clinical social workers or oncology nurses. They are a resource to your questions, including discharge planning details after a hospitalization, insurance benefits and getting help with financial concerns. For more information call 317-338-3900.
Q. Does St. Vincent have a financial assistance program?
A. A St. Vincent financial counselor is available to patients and families to explain the billing and collection process for St. Vincent Hospital, physicians' offices and clinic services. As a nonprofit, spiritually-centered health care system, St. Vincent Health is dedicated to improving the lives and health of those we serve. St. Vincent Health has a program for patients with no insurance (uninsured) or with limited insurance (underinsured). To talk to a St. Vincent financial counselor call 317-338-8035 or toll-free 800-582-8258.
Cancer Support Groups
Q. Are there different cancer support groups for different circumstances and how do I see what is available.
A. Through St. Vincent Cancer Care in Indianapolis on Nabb Rd. and at the St. Vincent Carmel Hospital and Women's Health Center we have different types of Cancer Survivorship Programs for the many needs of our adult patients and their loved ones. Some are for cancer patients only, some for caregivers, some are educational classes on different topics. We provide all-cancer support groups. A downloadable monthly calendar of Survivorship activities are available here. For information about St. Vincent Wisdom and Wellness seminars and classes at the Carmel location click here or call 317-338-CARE (2273).
Q. What support services are available in my hometown?
A. If you have had your cancer care at St. Vincent Indianapolis but live outside of the metro area, ask our Patient Navigators and/or Survivorship Navigator how to utilize community services and resources closer to home. All of the 22 St. Vincent Hospitals throughout Indiana have a variety of health services and outreach ministries. We work closely with the American Cancer Society, the Little Red Door organization and the national and state cancer organizations. Many communities have hidden resources that you may not know exist, talk to our navigators to find out where to begin.
Managing long-term illnesses
Q. What is Palliative Care and does that mean hospice for end of life?
A. Palliative Care is also called Supportive Services, Palliative Care and hospice are not one in the same. We help patients deal with the side effects of medical treatment, provide emotional support for the patient and family, and improve communication with healthcare providers.
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Q. What if I can't go home after surgery or an extended treatment because of my long-term care needs?
A. St. Vincent Seton Specialty Hospital is a faith-based long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) that specializes in the treatment of medically complex patients who require extended hospital stays, often of 25 days or longer.
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Q. Does St. Vincent have a dedicated Hospice Program?
A. Thoughout the St. Vincent ministries in Indiana, you may call St. Vincent Hospice 24 hours a day, seven days a week at (317) 338-4060 or toll-free (888) 780-7284. The hospice staff can contact your physician and/or your insurance provider to assist you in accessing hospice care throughout the state.
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Indiana and National Cancer Information Resources
These websites provide additional medical information about the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and research efforts for all types of pediatric and adult cancers.
Specific Types of Cancer
HEAD & NECK