What should I expect during my first visit to the James E. Cary Cancer Center?

On your first visit, you should come to the front desk and register. Next, you will see the physician just as with a normal doctor’s appointment. Tests will be ordered as needed and a plan of care will be developed.

If chemotherapy is indicated, an appointment will be made for your treatment and you will be given specific instructions on what you should do in advance.

If you are coming to the James E. Cary Cancer Center for radiation therapy, you will first have an appointment with the physician and then possibly a CT scan for planning. The first radiation therapy treatment would be scheduled after your customized and computerized treatment plan is developed and approved. This could take several days.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! We always suggest that patients and families write down questions in a notebook so that they don’t forget the questions when the doctor comes in. Cancer can be very confusing and we want you to understand your treatment plan.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is the administration of medications used to inhibit the reproduction or growth of cancer cells. Since chemotherapy goes through your entire body system, some side effects may occur due to the effect on normal cells. Your doctor and nurses will tell you what side effects you may expect for the type of chemotherapy you will be receiving. Many advances have been made in managing side effects especially the prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting. Be assured that your comfort is our first priority while you are completing your treatment.

How can I learn about resources to assist my loved one in managing their cancer?

The James E. Cary Cancer Center boasts a fully-equipped library and personal advocates to help you find the information you need.

 Oncology Social Worker
 The Oncology Social Worker is available to work with any patient and family to help identify sources of support, both financial and emotional. 

Nurse Navigator
Belinda Krchelich RN, BSN, OCN is available to newly diagnosed breast cancer patients, providing one on one support for them at the presentation of diagnosis, oncology specialist’s appointments and hospital visits. Her role is to provide the patient with a brief written summary after their appointment and answer questions as they arise. She can assist the patient in coordination of additional appointments, connecting the patient with other appropriate resources and working to decrease or eliminate the barriers to care that many of these patients face.


Can I receive my treatments on weekends?

There are some instances when medication or radiation treatments are administered over the weekend, but the majority of time services are rendered Monday-Friday.

My doctor is not in Hannibal, but I'd like to have treatment at the Cary Cancer Center. How can I make these arrangements?

Your doctor can call the Cary Cancer Center and make arrangements for you. We often treat individuals who have an out of town primary care physician. Have your doctor call: 573-406-5800

What are the hours of operation at the Cary Cancer Center?

7:30 AM-5 PM Monday-Friday. Special appointments can be set up for special circumstances.

How do I pay for services?

The James E. Cary Cancer Center accepts Medicare, private insurance, Medicaid, VA benefits and private pay. If you do not have any insurance coverage, please contact one of our financial counselors or the oncology social worker for assistance.  There are multiple options to help pay for cancer treatment expenses—please let us help you to figure this out.

Why should I come to the Cary Cancer Center instead of going to Columbia, St. Louis, or Springfield, Illinois?

The James E. Cary Cancer Center is fully accredited by the Commission on Cancer and provides progressive and contemporary care right here, close to your home. All treatments at the James E. Cary Cancer Center, a service of Hannibal Regional Hospital and the Hannibal Clinic, follow guidelines established by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) which are utilized nation-wide. In other words, the treatment provided here is the same that would be provided in “the city”.

What is radiation treatment?

In layman's terms, cancer is uncontrolled cell growth. Radiation therapy is the pinpoint focalized delivery of a radiation beam to the site of the cancerous tumor by careful computerized treatment plans which are based on 3D digital x-ray pictures. A beam of radiation is precisely aimed at the tumor in such a way as to maximize the radiation dose to the tumor and minimize the radiation exposure to good tissues surrounding the tumor.

What about pain?

Cancer is not synonymous with pain. We want to know if you are having pain so that we can best work with you in eliminating it! Please be honest and direct with us about pain. We primarily use the 0-10 pain scale—on a scale of 0-10 with 10 being the worst pain imaginable, what is your pain level. We understand that pain has a negative impact on the quality of your life. We will do everything possible to help you to be comfortable.