Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a referral from a doctor to see an oncologist, or can I call independently?

You will need a referral from your primary care physician or another doctor. In addition to providing a referral, your doctor will also forward key medical information and records to your oncologist.

How should I prepare for an appointment?

Make sure you bring along a list of your current medications. We recommend that you write down any symptoms you are experiencing, along with relevant personal information and any questions you may have. Finally, we encourage you to ask a family member or friend to accompany you to your appointments.

Are clinical trials available to St. Luke's Regional Cancer Center patients?

Yes. Our team includes staff from the Whiteside Institute for Clinical Research who screen patients to determine eligibility in clinical trials. We also participate in national trials sponsored by the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Whenever appropriate, we offer our patients the option of participating in a clinical trial.

Will I be able to continue working during my cancer treatment?

Some people are able to maintain a fairly normal work schedule while receiving chemotherapy or radiation, while others experience challenging side effects that require them to reduce or adjust their hours. Because the treatment process affects everyone differently, it’s difficult to predict how you will respond. What is most important is making sure you give yourself the time you need to rest.

What are the potential side effects of chemotherapy drugs?

Chemotherapy drugs affect people differently. How you react depends on the type, dosage and length of time you will be taking the medications, as well as your age, personal health history and other factors. Common side effects include:

  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Changes in menstrual cycle (for women)
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mouth sores
  • Nausea and vomitting

What are potential side effects of radiation therapy?

Some people experience many side effects, while others have very few, but most side effects will disappear within two months after you complete radiation therapy. Common side effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Hair loss
  • Mouth sores
  • Nausea and vomitting
  • Sexual changes
  • Skin dryness, itching, peeling or blistering
  • Swelling
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Urinary or bladder changes

If you have any other questions please call St. Luke's Regional Cancer at 218.249.3081.

218.249.5555 | 800.321.3790

St. Luke’s, 915 East First Street, Duluth, MN 55805
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