Tweed and John Flynn Cancer Clinic | Information for Patients
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Information for patients

Our friendly, caring and professional team and comprehensive patient information enables us to make all aspects of diagnosis, care and treatment as supportive and seamless as possible.

On Arrival

Whether your first visit to our day hospital is for your initial consultation with your specialist , or for your first treatment,  please go to the reception area where our medical receptionists will help you. They will confirm your personal details and make any health insurance and billing arrangements.

Please feel free to bring along a family member, carer or friend to accompany you during your visits to the centre.

Treatment Appointment

On the day of your treatment just go straight to the reception area where our medical receptionists will direct you. Please bring  any of your regular medications with you.

We recomend that you bring a book, magazine or an Ipad to pass the time during your treatment and perhaps a light cardigan or jacket for additional comfort, but its probably best to leave any valuables at home.

Any further appointments with your specialist or for treatment can be made with our medical receptionists at each visit or by telephoning

The required treatment time will determine the amount of time we allocate for your next visit. Please notify your specialist’s receptionist as soon as possible if you are unable to attend your appointment.

How are my appointments, treatment and medications covered and billed?

Specialist or consultation Costs

The specialist fee will be charged directly to your health fund in most cases. Your health fund will forward the payment directly to the Tweed Cancer Clinic and this will be credited to your account.

A gap fee will be payable depending on your level of cover and whether or not the specific Doctor charges a gap fee, while other doctors may charge more than the Medical Benefits Schedule(MBS) Our medical receptionists will let you know in advance If you have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses.

You will be required to settle the account on the day of service unless your Specialist has an arrangement with the health fund.

Treatment Costs

There are no-gap fees for privately insured patients undergoing chemotherapy or haematological treatments at the Tweed Cancer Clinic.  We will let you know of any excess that may apply to your health insurance cover at the time of your treatment.

Pharmaceutical Costs

Your Health Fund usually funds any pharmaceutical drugs related to your treatment.. Pharmaceutical drugs comprise both Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme (PBS) subsidised drugs and high-cost drugs.  In the event of some  high-cost drugs not being covered by your health fund our clinic manager will discuss payment arrangements with you.

Medications not directly related to your treatment can be purchased through our pharmacy. These medications will be invoiced directly to you by the pharmacy and cannot be claimed for reimbursement by Medicare or your health fund.

The day hospital will bill you separately for any dressings or bandages provided upon discharge, as these items cannot be claimed for reimbursement either by Medicare or your health fund

Treatment Protocols

An experienced registered nurse will be assigned to care for you during your treatment at the Tweed Cancer Clinic providing relevant information about the treatment you will receive , addressing all your concerns and answering any questions you may have.

Our receptionists or nurses will let you know the approximate time your treatment will take and light refreshments will be provided throughout the day.

We suggest having a family member or friend drive you home, as some of the medications may make you drowsy.

After hours and emergency information

Most specialists can be contacted during the Clinic’s operating hours plus a number of specialists have after hours arrangements in place and can be contacted on 07 5598 0025. Please ask the after hours service provider for your specialist by name and they will let you know how your call will be managed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect at my first treatment appointment?

As part of your preparation for the first treatment we recommend that you attend one of our regular patient information sessions given by one of our experienced registered nurses  You can book into a session with one of our reception staff members. These education sessions outline what to expect during treatment and common side effects. It’s also an opportunity to address any questions or concerns with our experienced nursing team.

When it’s time to start your treatment, an intravenous (IV) drip will be inserted by one of our experienced nursing staff. A blood test may also be taken at this time. You may need to wait for blood results prior to your treatment to ensure your blood counts are at a satisfactory level.

Depending on your chemotherapy treatment, you may be given anti-nausea medication either via your drip or orally before receiving treatment.

Treatment time will vary depending on the type of drugs used.

You can eat and drink normally while receiving treatment and can go to the bathroom – the IV poles are on wheels and easy to move around. Just let one of our nursing staff know so they can assist.

What should I wear?

We find that comfortable, loose fitting clothing is appropriate and perhaps loose sleeves in case you need to have blood taken or an intravenous drip inserted into your arm.

When will I find out which treatment I am having?

Your doctor will  prescribe and manage your treatment and then inform the day hospital and pharmacy. Either your doctor will confirm your treatment with you ahead of your treatment appointment or you will be informed when you arrive at the day hospital.

Will I always see the same doctor?

Most of the time you will see the same doctor as this provides continuity of care and helps to build a rapport with your treating physician.A major benefit of private cancer treatment.

Occasionally you may see another doctor if your usual doctor is on leave or called away for an emergency.

Will I always see my doctor when I come for treatment?

Your doctor  will advise you on the frequency of consultations and availability during treatments. If you are not seeing your doctor on the day of treatment but need to speak with them, please let either the day hospital reception or your nurse know.

What tests will my doctor order?

Your blood counts will need to be at a satisfactory level to proceed with your treatment therefore your doctor will order blood tests prior to that  Depending on your particular type of cancer, your doctor may order other tests throughout your treatment to check the effectiveness of your chemotherapy. Your doctor will advise you about what other tests you will be necessary during your treatment.

Will my weight be affected as a result of my treatment?

As individuals we differing reactions to chemotherapy, and this also applies to weight. While some people may gain weight, others experience weight loss. Your cancer may also affect your weight. I Please raise any concerns about your weight changing during treatment  with your doctor.

Will my treatment result in any hair loss?

Chemotherapy may result in hair loss, depending on the type of drugs administered. Your doctor or nurse will be able to advise you whether your particular treatment will cause hair loss.

Will I be able to take vitamins and other complementary medicines?

Some vitamins and medicines can interfere with the effects of chemotherapy so it is best to provide your doctor with a list of the ones you are currently taking, whether they are prescription or off the shelf medicines or supplements. If you start taking any new medicines during your treatment please let your doctor know.

Can I exercise during my treatment?

Light exercise, such as walking, will assist in  managing fatigue and improve well being,  however please consult your doctor if you are considering more rigorous exercise.

Can I drink alcohol during my treatment?

Your doctor will advise whether you can drink alcohol during your treatment.

Can I continue to work while I’m being treated?

Please discuss the nature of your work with your doctor, who will evaluate your type of treatment and how well you feel during your treatment, and then advise you on the possibilities of continuing to work.

Are there certain activities I won’t be able to do during treatment?

There may be certain activities that will need to be restricted during your treatment. This will depend on the treatment you are having, your diagnosis and your blood counts at the time. Please discuss any concerns about your participation in a particular activity with your doctor.

Should I avoid unwell people during treatment?

Chemotherapy can affect the production of blood cells in your body, including your white blood cells, which protect against infection. You are more at risk of developing a cold or infection when your white blood cells are low .During this time, it’s important to avoid people who are unwell. When you attend the patient information session prior to treatment or on your first day of chemotherapy this will be explained to you in more detail.

Who pays for blood tests and other tests?

Pathology tests are usually bulk-billed when you are admitted to our day hospitals, without any cost to the patient.. For radiology tests, the costs depend on the provider and the type of test you need. Some tests are bulk-billed, while you may have to pay for others.

Ask the radiology services provider or us at the time of your appointment to check  the extent of costs you may have to bear.

Can I be part of a clinic trial?

We deliver one of the most comprehensive clinical trials program in Australia through the Tweed and John Flynn Cancer Clinic.

By participating in a clinical trial you can:

  • potentially gain access to new and emerging treatments that may improve your condition and quality of life,
  • have comprehensive medical care and support by a team of specialist research nurses and scientists, and
  • help others with similar conditions in the future.

Patient participation depends on the trials on offer at the time and a patient’s eligibility.

How do I participate in a clinical trial?

Please speak with your treating doctor If you are interested in being part of a clinical trial.

A doctor is always responsible for conducting a clinical trial. A new treatment will only advance into a clinical trial once an ethics committee and the participating doctors have determined it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Before joining a clinical trial you will be provided with all the relevant information, including the associated benefits and risks, to help you make an informed decision.

Once consent is given, you will be screened to determine eligibility for that trial.

Once deemed eligible, you can commence treatment on the trial. If you are not considered eligible for participation, your doctor will determine alternative treatment options if appropriate.

What support services are available ?

A number of services are available to you and your family that may provide support and assistance during your treatment.

The Tweed Cancer Clinic  runs regular pre-admission information sessions to provide you and your family with information regarding treatment and also works with a number of community groups that offer a range of support services. Ask your nurse for information on support services.