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Frequently Asked Questions

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Can I be cured?
Many cancers are curable, and many more are manageable. Your oncology doctor will discuss the details of your specific illness that will affect the outcome of your treatments.


Is chemotherapy painful?
Chemotherapy does not cause pain. In fact, if you have pain during the administration of intravenous chemotherapy, please tell the nurse, as this should not occur. The needle may be moved for comfort to a different location.

Can I eat and drink?
You certainly can. We recommend a light breakfast before coming to the clinic in the morning. We provide snacks, drinks and a lunch for our patients receiving treatment.

Can I have an alcoholic drink with dinner?
Alcohol can worsen the side effects, so please talk with your oncologist before drinking alcohol.

Will I have side effects from chemotherapy?
Most medications, including chemotherapy and biotherapy, have potential side effects or unwanted symptoms.Your nurse will spend time discussing side effects common to all cancer therapies and specific side effects associated with your treatment.

Side effects of anti-cancer drugs do not affect everyone. You may experience few or no side effects, while some patients have many. Factors influencing side effects include:

  • The length of time on a certain drug
  • The patient's general health
  • The dose of the drug
  • The frequency of the drug, how it is administered and/or the combination of a particular drug with other anti-cancer drugs.

Side effects may be unpleasant and occasionally difficult, but they tend to be short term and slowly disappear when treatments are completed. Our staff will do everything possible to minimize the effects and to support you if the side effects become more serious.

What if I have a problem at night or on the weekends?
We are here for you.

If you have an emergency situation after the normal working hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., please call our answering service at (207) 621-6100. They will contact your oncologist or the physician on call to help you.

If you need immediate care, go directly to the nearest hospital Emergency Department.

How am I charged for services?
Patients seen in Medical Oncology receive two separate bills:

  • Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care. The bill covers such things as use of the rooms, machines and technical services.

    You will be billed periodically throughout your treatment.

    If you have questions about the hospital portion of your bill, please call toll free (877) 255-4680 or (207) 872-4680.

  • Physician. For radiation treatment, you will also receive a bill periodically from Physician Associates for physician services throughout your treatment.

If you have questions about the physician portion of your bill, please call toll free (800) 287-6034.

Insurance Information
Insurance co-payments are due at the time of your visit. Your insurance coverage will dictate your co-payment amount.

We will submit your bill to both primary and secondary insurances.

If you have managed care insurance coverage, you will need a referral and authorization from your primary care physician before starting treatment.

If you have no insurance, financial counselors and social workers can help you apply for available financial assistance.

Patients may qualify for MaineCare (Medicaid) or MaineGeneral's uncompensated care services program.

Our CarePartners program may also be able to help.