Questions Frequently Asked by Cancer Patients

How do I make an appointment?

All appointments, including chemotherapy and injection visits, are scheduled in advance. To make or cancel an appointment, please contact us Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you're having a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1.

How do I go about getting a second opinion?

Patients with a diagnosis of cancer or a blood disorder may request an evaluation at WVCI. If you have been receiving care from another local health care provider or if you are from outside of our region and would like to be seen at WVCI, please call toll-free (888) 384-9822 and request an appointment.

Who do I contact after hours?

If you are experiencing a MEDICAL EMERGENCY, please call 9-1-1.

A medical emergency is an injury or illness that is acute and poses an immediate risk to a person's life or long-term health (example: a cut that won't stop bleeding).

An URGENT MEDICAL CONCERN is an injury or illness symptom that causes immediate concern to a person (example: vomiting with red tinge; sudden rash).

If you have an URGENT MEDICAL CONCERN during NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), please call our office at 541-683-5001. You will be seen as quickly as possible.

If you have an URGENT MEDICAL CONCERN AFTER HOURS, (before 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m.), please call 541-683-5001. The answering service will take your call and forward it to our doctor on call. If you do not receive a return call within 15 minutes, please call again.

Do I need a referral from my primary care provider?

You are encouraged to request a referral from your health care provider, as this normally facilitates insurance authorization and medical record transfer.

How do I know if my insurance is accepted?

We are adding new insurance contracts regularly, and our office will be able to help you determine if our physicians participate with your plan. Please see our list of accepted insurance plans.

Will my insurance cover my treatment?

Although we contract with a variety of managed health care plans and insurance companies, we want to be sensitive to all our patients. We have financial counselors available to work through individual financial situations. Contact your insurance provider to inform them of your diagnosis and to learn more about your coverage.

What should I ask my insurance company?
  • Is pre approval needed for hospital admissions, diagnostic tests or scans? If so, what's the procedure?
  • What rules or guidelines are there for getting a second opinion?
  • What is the procedure for filing claims?
  • What deductibles, if any, are required before insurance begins paying claims, including those for prescriptions and lab work?
  • Does my policy have limits on what is paid for surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy?
  • Does my policy cover new treatments or participation in clinical trials? If so, are there any limits or limitations?
How do I pay my bill?

There are several convenient options for you to make a payment. Click here to make a payment through our secure online payment system, or make a payment during your next visit. You can also mail payments with your patient account number on the memo line to:

Willamette Valley Cancer Institute
520 Country Club Road
Eugene, Oregon 97401

Is there financial help available?

At WVCI, we have several payment options. Although we contract with a variety of managed health care plans and insurance companies, we want to be sensitive to all our patients. We have financial counselors available to work through individual financial situations.

What will happen at my first appointment?

Prior to your first visit and to reduce your wait time, we encourage you to print and complete our new-patient forms, then bring them to your first appointment, along with your insurance cards. We also recommend that you ask another person to accompany you to your first visit, which may last 1-2 hours. Your first appointment may include the following:

  • New patient evaluation with an oncology care provider.
  • Meeting Patient Service Representative to discuss insurance and billing.
  • Additional tests for accurate diagnosis to help guide your treatment.
  • Signing up for our secure patient portal for easy access to your patient history, including diagnosis, treatment, medications and lab results. Get started by signing up at our clinic.
What forms should I fill out before my first appointment?

For your convenience, you can complete needed forms by downloading, printing, then filling them out and bringing them with you to your first visit. Download the forms, here.

Where should I stay when I come for treatment?

WVCI has partnered with several local hotels to offer discounts to our patients who do not live in the area. Go here for contact information.

What is cancer staging?

There are many staging systems, but TNM is the most common. "T" refers to the size of the tumor, "N" to the number of lymph nodes involved, and "M" to metastasis. TNM staging measures the extent of the disease by evaluating these three aspects to assign a stage, which is usually between 0-4. Generally, the lower the stage, the better the likley outcome.

  • Stage 0 – precancer
  • Stage 1 – small cancer found only in the organ where it started
  • Stage 2 – larger cancer that may or may not have spread to the lymph nodes
  • Stage 3 – larger cancer that is also in the lymph nodes
  • Stage 4 – cancer in a different organ from where it started
What are my treatment options?

Cancer treatment varies, depending on your type of cancer, stage of cancer, and overall condition. Additionally, treatment options may vary, depending on whether or not the goal of treatment is to cure the cancer, keep the cancer from spreading, or to relieve the symptoms caused by cancer. Together, you and your physician will consider all of these factors to determine optimal treatment.

Are there support services available?

Our commitment to excellence means offering support services that address the emotional, physical and spiritual needs of our patients. Through a combination of traditional medical treatments and complementary therapies, such as one-on-one counseling, support groups, and nutrition planning, patients often feel stronger, more resilient and determined to meet the challenges they face. Whether recently diagnosed, undergoing treatment, or managing your disease, we're here to support you and your loved ones every step of the way. For those who’ve completed treatment, we can recommend practitioners who provide cancer survivorship support.

What is integrative care?

During cancer treatment and beyond, we promote an integrative approach to health, incorporating mind and body wellness through integrative care, such as, survivorship support, naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and massage therapy.

What is a patient navigator?

A WVCI patient navigator serves as a guide to help you anticipate, address and overcome any challenges in the cancer treatment process, as well as coordinate services to improve the quality of care you'll receive. All potential breast, colorectal and lung cancer patients will receive a phone call from a WVCI patient navigator once WVCI has been contacted by a referring physician. The patient navigator will meet the patient at his or her first appointment with an oncologist and determine plans to meet again, depending on the patient's treatment plan. All services provided by patient navigators are free.

Is there a way to access my medical information?

Sign up at our clinic to start using our secure patient portal for easy access to your patient history, including diagnosis, treatment, medications and lab results.

What is the patient portal and how do I sign up?

Our secure patient portal provides secure, instant access to your treatment history, including your diagnosis, medications and lab results, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Enrolling for online access to your medical information is easy at the clinic. Get started by signing up at our clinic. Once you’re set up, you can access your account here.

Who performs my lab tests?

As a benefit to patients, Willamette Valley Cancer Institute operates its own laboratory, approved by the federal government for clinical testing. Having an in-house lab provides timely, accurate information to our physicians to assist them in delivering the best possible care for our patients. Testing not performed in-house is sent to other federally approved laboratories; health care insurance dictates where testing is performed.

How do I get my lab or test results?

Sign up at our clinic to access our secure patient portal for easy access to your patient history, including diagnosis, treatment, medications and lab results. You can also request your test results at your next scheduled appointment.

Where should I fill my prescriptions?

Our pharmacy is located at our Country Club Road location, 520 Country Club Road, Eugene, OR 97401. Our pharmacist’s work closely with your WVCI oncologist to provide you the prescriptions you need—it's a unique doctor-pharmacist relationship you won't find anywhere else.

How should I dispose of my medication?

To prevent accidental poisonings, learn how to dispose of your unused or expired medications, here. Pharmacies cannot accept medications once they are dispensed.

When should I see my primary care provider?

Your PCP is fundamental to your continuity of care, overseeing and caring for any infections, injuries, immune system problems, medications and lifestyle changes that may have nothing to do with cancer. Over the long term, a provider who knows your health history, your habits and your personality can more easily recognize any signs that indicate a potential change in your health, so continue seeing your PCP for regular check-ups and any new problems or symptoms, as you did before you developed cancer.

How can I get involved in the fight against cancer?

Cancer patients, as well as friends and family, sometimes feel pulled to get involved in the broader fight against cancer. To get involved, learn more about patient advocacy. To support patients in Lane County, consider giving to the Oregon Cancer Foundation.

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