Welcome to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS's) Resource Center, where you can order free booklets and fact sheets, listen to archived audio files from past telephone and web-based education programs, find other helpful organizations and access additional resources.
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The disease, treatment and support information on the LLS website is reviewed by clinical specialists. Please see the source or reviewer acknowledgements noted on the main disease pages.
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Q & A
Q: Who is the best doctor for my diagnosis?
A: Choosing a doctor can be a difficult and personal decision. LLS does not offer a list of doctors. The free LLS fact sheet "Choosing A Blood Cancer Specialist or Treatment Center" offers detailed information with links to tools that can assist you in making a choice. Factors to consider when choosing a doctor are listed below.
- Is the doctor an hematologist/oncologist with expertise in treating the specific blood cancer that is suspected or diagnosed?
- Is the doctor's affiliated hospital or treatment center accredited and experienced in the treatment of blood cancers?
- Is the doctor able to discuss all treatment options, for instance standard treatment, and when appropriate clinical trial options?
- Are the doctors's services and the treatment facility where the doctor practices covered by the patient's insurance plan?
- Is the patient comfortable with the style and level of communication with the doctor and their healthcare team?
- How often will the patient need to visit the doctor, and is transportation or the cost of transportation and housing an issue?
For more information visit our Making Treatment Decisions webpage.
Q: How can I find the best treatment center?
A: Choosing a treatment center that matches your needs is important. Your choice may depend on the diagnosis, treatment (including participation in a clinical trial) and ability and willingness to travel. The decision about where to get treatment may be based on a recommendation from your doctor, your insurance carrier or by the geographic location of your home. Your choice could include a Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Community Clinical Oncology Program, a University Affiliated Hospital or Center or a Community Cancer Center. Each of these designations is used for a particular type of center with a variety of specific functions. Visit the Choosing a Specialist or Treatment Center webpage for more information.
Q: How do I get my medical records from a doctor?
A: If you want to have a copy of your medical records, you must submit a written request to the hospital or doctor's office. A health care provider must have the patient's written authorization to disclose medical records or the information contained in them. Some hospitals have their own form that needs to be completed. Patients may receive copies of their medical records, however the originals must remain in the doctor's or hospital's file.
Here is more information about organizing your medical records.
Q: I'm on chemotherapy and do not know which side effects I need to call my physician about.
A: Side effects of treatment with chemotherapy agents are usually discussed with patients before the treatment is started. From the doctor?s perspective, the side effects of greatest concern may be fever, breathing difficulties, hives or rashes, rapid heartbeat, confusion, and redness or pain at the IV site. From the patient's perspective, any side effect causing discomfort or limiting usual activity such as diarrhea or nausea is a concern. Report any of these side effects when they first appear. Sometimes the more common side effects can be managed with medications to reduce discomfort. To find detailed side effect information about particular drugs, see the free LLS booklet Understanding Drug Therapy and Managing Side Effects.
Q: What are clinical trials and how can I learn more about them?
A: Every new drug or treatment regimen goes through a series of studies called "clinical trials" before it becomes part of standard therapy. Clinical trials are carefully designed and rigorously reviewed by expert clinicians and researchers to ensure as much safety and scientific accuracy as possible. There are clinical trials that test and develop new and improved ways to diagnose and treat cancer in people, prevent or alleviate treatment side effects, help prevent a recurrence of cancer or improve the comfort and quality of life for people with cancer. Clinical trials are important for the treatment of leukemia, Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, myeloma, myelodyplastic syndromes or myeloproliferative neoplasms (blood cancers) because they provide promising new treatment options and offer the hope of increased survival and/or improved quality of life. Participation in a carefully conducted clinical trial may be the "best available" therapy.
A treatment that is proven safe and effective in a cancer clinical trial will often be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and become a standard treatment for future patients with cancer. A web-based clinical trial search service can be found on the LLS website. Visit our Clinical Trials webpage for more information.
Q: Does LLS offer any financial assistance?
A: LLS has a Co-Pay Assistance Program that offers financial support towards the cost of insurance co-payments and/or insurance premium costs for prescription drugs. Patients must qualify both medically and financially for this program. LLS also has a Patient Financial Aid program that provides supplementary financial assistance to patients in need. The program is supported entirely by public contributions. To apply for the program, simply contact your local chapter (enter your zip code at the top of this page to find your local chapter) or complete and return the financial aid application to your local chapter.