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Hear from the Expert

We talked with patients, caregivers, and specialists around the Texas Oncology network to gather their best advice for patients at diagnosis, during treatment, following treatment, and beyond. Here’s what they had to say:

Medical Care

  • At Diagnosis
    • Find an oncologist you trust
    • Learn about potential short- and long-term side effects, and approaches to address them before treatment starts (i.e., fertility)
    • Learn about your treatment options and ask lots of questions
    • Read Texas Oncology’s Care Guide
    • Start a journal to keep important notes
  • During Treatment
    • Ask your doctor or nurse about ways to address side effects
    • Bring someone with you to appointments to be an “extra set of ears”
    • Bring your journal to take notes
  • After Treatment
    • Get an overview of your cancer and treatment history from your physician for your records
    • Get a personalized recommendation for cancer screenings and other health needs from your oncology team
    • Talk with family members who may share your cancer risk
    • Update your other physicians on your treatment
    • Update journal after follow-up appointments

Self Care

  • At Diagnosis
    • Take time to process the news and changes ahead
    • Find and join a support group in your area
    • Stock up on restful things you enjoy, like books you have wanted to read or favorite music, to help relax during treatment and recovery
  • During Treatment
    • Acknowledge difficult feelings and deal with them in a healthy way
    • Store supplies for long treatment days in one bag for easy access
    • Meet with a clinical nutritionist if you have trouble eating
  • After Treatment
    • Adopt and maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine
    • Continue follow-up care and maintain a healthy lifestyle


  • At Diagnosis
    • Learn about your cancer type and stage; ask lots of questions to explore and evaluate all treatment options
    • Decide who to tell and how, including coworkers
    • Decide how much to tell the children in your life (age-appropriate honesty is best)
  • During Treatment
    • Consider starting a blog to efficiently update all friends and family at once as you have developments to report
  • After Treatment
    • Consider celebrating post-treatment anniversaries
    • Request a written description of your treatment history to share with your other healthcare providers
    • Let your loved ones know treatment is finished and how they can help you adapt to your “new normal”

Life Logistics

  • At Diagnosis
    • Discuss changes to your work schedule with your employer
    • Update legal documents
    • Try to keep life as normal as possible by continuing to do things that mean the most to you
  • During Treatment
    • Identify a caregiver to help with transportation and other needs
    • Say “yes” to meals, errands, childcare, and other offers of help
  • After Treatment
    • Work with your HR department on a realistic schedule for returning to work
    • Ease your way back into activities


  • At Diagnosis
    • Determine your insurance coverage for treatment and testing
    • Meet with a financial counselor to review your insurance coverage and identify options
    • Learn what deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket costs you may incur
  • During Treatment
    • As treatment plans change, meet with a financial counselor to reassess financial implications
    • Keep track of all financial and insurance paperwork
    • Reach out to community resources if you’re having financial difficulties
    • Contact your employer’s HR department regarding Family/Medical Leave or disability time
  • After Treatment
    • Tap into community resources available to survivors
    • Review all remaining EOBs and wrap up any outstanding balances