“Everyone was supportive and caring and made asking the embarrassing questions easy. From the nurses, doctors, chemo nurses and follow up education, everyone was wonderful.” – Sheila, Former Stronach Regional Cancer Centre at Southlake patient

Be Prepared

To prepare for your treatment, it helps to get informed about your treatment plan options and learn how the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre (SRCC) at Southlake can help you. And if you smoke, quit now to make your treatment as effective as possible.

1 – Learn About Your Treatment

Our oncologists  develop a treatment plan that is best for you and work with your care team to make your experience as comfortable as possible.

Your individual treatment plan is based on your:

  • Type of cancer
  • Cancer characteristics
  • Stage of cancer
  • Personal situation and wishes

Be an Active Partner

We encourage you to be an active partner in decisions about your treatment by:

  • Gathering information about your treatment.
  • Asking your physician or nurse about any concerns you may have. Write down questions when you think of them and bring them to your appointment.
  • Talking to other people who have been through similar treatments. Their stories can give you hope and encouragement

We provide training to prepare you for treatment and how to manage your symptoms:

  • For radiation therapy – You will be scheduled to attend a 20-minute one-on-one education appointment with a radiation therapist, who will tell you what to expect at each step and how to manage any side effects you experience.
  • For chemotherapy – You will be scheduled to attend one of our monthly, Wednesday afternoon chemotherapy teaching classes. At this class, a registered nurse will help you and your family prepare for treatment, learn what to expect and how to manage your symptoms.

If possible, arrange for family members/friends to attend appointments and training sessions with you. They can help you take notes, ensure you understand everything and remember it. You may also need their help to arrange transportation or drive you to and from your treatments, if your physician or nurse advises that medication may make you too drowsy to safely drive.

Resources

If you want more information, check our Patient and Family Resource Centre for sources to help you take an active role in your cancer treatment.

2 – Learn About the SRCC and How it Can Help You

Top of patient orientation class flyer

You can get a head start on your treatment in less than an hour by attending one of our drop-in orientation classes. During this class, you will learn your way around the SRCC at Southlake, find out about programs and services to help you through your treatment and get answers to outstanding questions.

For more information, email Ruth Barker or call 905-830-5800 and follow the prompts to reach Ruth Barker.

3 – Seek the Support You Need

A cancer diagnosis may affect many aspects of your life: physical, financial, emotional, occupational and spiritual. It’s as important for you and your family to receive emotional, social and spiritual support, as your radiation or other treatments. We’re here to help.

Explore our Supportive Care programs and services to learn how they can improve your quality of life before, throughout your treatment and beyond.

There are also external support groups that can help you during this time, such as:

Challenges Getting to Your Treatments? – If you can’t afford the cost of travel, or are not physically well enough to use public transit, speak with a social worker on your care team or contact the Canadian Cancer Society, to learn how its Wheels of Hope program can help you find a solution.

4 – Quit Smoking Now to Improve Your Treatment

If you smoke, you are among the one in five patients coming to the SRCC at Southlake who currently use or have recently used tobacco. Unfortunately, smoking can make your treatment less effective and increase its side effects.

Graphic explaining how quiting smoking: makes it less likely for you to have infections/complications from surgery; make radiation work better due to no smoke-induced oxygen level drops; and make chemotherapy more effective.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can reduce your risk of dying by 30 to 40 per cent if you quit smoking when your cancer is diagnosed. Quitting also reduces the risk of your cancer returning or another type of cancer developing.

Our 3As Approach to Help You

We believe it’s essential to talk about tobacco use in cancer care. Like all of Ontario’s Regional Cancer Programs, we use this three question (3As) approach with you and other patients:

  1. Ask “if you smoke”
  2. Discuss the benefits of quitting
  3. Offer help to quit smoking

Need Help to Quit?

 To learn about our approach and get help, go to:

Help to Quit Smoking

It is never too late to benefit from quitting and it’s never too late to quit.

5 – Put Nutrition First

Good nutrition can help give you strength and energy before, during and after your treatment. Eating well may also help your body build new tissues, cope with the stress of therapy, prevent weight loss and make you feel stronger.

We recommend you eat a high calorie, high protein diet during treatment. For tips, recipes and ideas on how to put nutrition first, check our blog: The Inside Scoop.

The Inside Scoop blog banner

We also have registered dietitians on staff who can help you with any side effects that may make it challenging for you to eat well during your treatments. If you face these challenges, ask your oncologist or a member of your care team for a referral to a registered dietitian.

6 – Exercise Daily

Graphic of people backpacking with message: Did you know: Exercise may help your mind and body feel better during and after your cancer treatment.

Try to fit in at least 10 minutes of light exercise each day. Exercising while you receive treatment is safe and can help you feel better now and after you finish.

To help you get the most benefit from exercise, check this Cancer Care Ontario page for a:

  • Guide on exercise for people with cancer
  • Tracking sheet guide

(If you have challenges opening these documents, click/tap here for help.)

What’s Next?

Check these pages to learn about your treatment, where to get help and what happens beyond treatment:

  1. Treatment to learn what to expect from each treatment
  2. Supportive Care to help you before, during or after your treatment
  3. Beyond Treatment to learn about options and help beyond treatment