New Patient FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long will I have to wait for my first appointment?
A: Every effort is made to schedule the first appointment as soon as possible. For extremely urgent problems, more rapid scheduling may be arranged.
Q: Will my insurance plan pay for treatment? What if it will not?
A: We work with patients to help them receive full benefits from their insurance carriers. To do so, we must have complete information about your insurance coverage. Each insurer has specific requirements that must be met prior to consultation and treatment. Patients are responsible for meeting these requirements, especially in a managed care plan. If your health plan will not pay for treatment, we suggest that you ask your insurance company if it will cover a second opinion or consultation at the Van Elslander Cancer Center. Once you have been evaluated by our physicians you can determine with your insurance company exactly what your treatment will be and where you will be treated.
Q: What types of treatment does the Van Elslander Cancer Center offer?
A: Each patient is assessed on an individual basis using the Van Elslander Cancer Center’s multidisciplinary team approach. This ensures that our patients receive the benefit of several experts’ different perspectives, which helps to define the most effective course of action. The Van Elslander Center provides a comprehensive array of state-of-the-art treatment options: surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, and combinations of these and other therapies. Experts here focus only on cancer and are renowned for their ability to treat uncommon or rare cancers as well as common cancers. Curing the patient is our ultimate goal. Yet even when a cure is not possible, both the length and quality of life are greatly enhanced for most patients. To learn more about specific treatments for each type of cancer, see our treatment section and the Well-Connected Reports.
Q: Does the Van Elslander Cancer Center provide second opinions?
A: Yes. Second opinions are strongly recommended for all cancer diagnoses, so that you and your oncologist can choose the best treatment. Our Pathology Department offers second opinion evaluations of slides, blocks, X-rays and tissue samples. The Van Elslander Cancer Center staff includes experts in nine cancer subspecialties, and we operate several onsite diagnostic clinics and laboratories. Patients can ask their physicians to submit pathology materials for our review; each case receives a written evaluation. Please remember that our outside consultation service is for pathology second opinions only. We cannot discuss or recommend treatment options.
Q: What types of doctors and support personnel will be treating me?
A: The multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer includes skilled specialists in every discipline working together for the best possible combination of science and medicine. Laboratory research conducted at the Center (as well as learnings from national clinical trials) is rapidly transferred to directly benefit patients. The strength of our effort is a health care team committed to meeting patient needs and expectations that include diagnosis, treatment, psychosocial support, rehabilitation, and the assistance patients may need in returning to their communities after recovery. To learn more about our faculty and their clinical interests, see the Physician Directory.
Q: Do I need a physician referral?
A: No, anyone with a diagnosis of cancer can make an appointment at the Van Elslander Cancer Center. Please call 1-888-246-HOPE (4673) to be directed to the appropriate service or physician. It is important to provide information on any prior treatment, diagnostic test results and pathology to help the physicians plan the best course of treatment.
Q: Does the Van Elslander Cancer Institute offer Hospice Services?
A: Yes. You will find information on hospice care in our Caregivers section or by calling 1-800-248-2298 and ask for central access. Office hours are 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. for any additional questions, you can ask for Eva Sylvester, St. John Hospice Director.
Q: I have so many questions about cancer and my diagnosis. How can I get more information to make wise decisions regarding my treatment?
A: One of the greatest weapons against cancer is knowledge; that’s why information is an important part of treatment and recovery at the Van Elslander Cancer Center. Your questions and concerns are welcomed and encouraged, and top specialists in your type of cancer care will answer your concerns. Our support and information services can tell you how and where to find the best care in your own community – even if you live a long distance from Detroit. We also encourage you to use our onsite Cancer Resource Center. In keeping with the Center’s mission of exceptional care, we have carefully assembled a collection of current data about cancer and its care, as well as Internet access and an extensive lending library of print, audio and video materials.
Q: If I were interested in participating in research being done here, or elsewhere in the country, could I have my doctor call?
A: Many cancer patients take part in clinical trials (research studies), testing new treatments for cancer. These studies are designed to develop new treatments for cancer. For clinical trials currently taking place at The Van Elslander Center please call 313-343-3166.
Q: As a patient, what can the Van Elslander Cancer Center offer me that I won’t find elsewhere?
A: First, the Van Elslander Cancer Center offers up-to-date diagnosis and treatment for all types of cancer, including new therapies that are not yet widely available. Second, everything needed for your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery is available in one place, including counseling, pain management, rehabilitation, and help in returning to your normal lifestyle following cancer.
Q: How should I prepare for my first appointment at the Cancer Center?
A: Please bring with you all of the information about your diagnosis, including test results, X-rays and slides. You must request this from the doctor who made the diagnosis. Your records belong to you, and you have the right to request them at any time. Bring them with you to your first appointment at the Van Elslander Cancer Center. Your doctors at the Center will need this information when they see you for the first time.
Q: Can I bring someone with me?
A: A cancer diagnosis can be a frightening thing. Any time you feel the need for company during a visit to the Van Elslander Cancer Center, a friend or family member is more than welcome to accompany you. Your support person can help you understand, take notes, or ask questions that you may not think of.
Q: Will I have one doctor at the Cancer Center, or will I have to see more?
A: You will have one primary cancer specialist who will coordinate your care and participate in your treatment. This doctor will be continually updated as you proceed through your recommended course of treatment whether you need to see one doctor, or several.
Q: What if I don’t have a primary care physician? Will I still be able to come to the Cancer Center?
A: Yes — many of our patients are self-referred. A cancer specialist will direct your treatment at the Cancer Center no matter how many specialists you are required to see in the course of your treatment. That physician will see you on a regular basis for examinations and to discuss your progress. He or she will answer your questions, and discuss your treatment options with you.