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cancer treatment centers of america

SarahD's picture
Posts: 139
Joined: Jun 2010

anyone have experience with these hospitals

dixiegirl's picture
Posts: 1043
Joined: Apr 2006

Hi Sarah,

Not me, but my father wanted me to go to the one in Oklahoma. I just couldn't see traveling for 6 hours every 3 weeks for chemo.

Are you just starting out?

Posts: 43
Joined: Apr 2009

don't they only take certain medical insurances or you have to be refered to by a oncologist? i also wanted to go when i first found out i had NHL since i live in phoenix az. and they are both in the area. i would also like to hear from someone who has gone there. take care.

merrywinner's picture
Posts: 627
Joined: Aug 2009

I don't know anything about Cancer Centers of America but do receive my care at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Mn. They take most all insurances and getting an appointment was incredibly easy. I had always thought it was for the rich and famous. Not so. I would be happy to answer any questions you have. Mary

Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2010

I had a Bone Marrow Transplant at CTCA for Hodgkin's Lymphoma.
They are a wonderful hospital. They treat the patient as a whole not just the cancer. The doctors are great. I visited 4 different hospitals before the Bone Marrow Transplant and they all made me feel like I was just a number, another cancer. When I walked into CTCA - Zion, IL, I could feel the difference. All the patients I have been in contact with say it is like coming home.

When i went there, I didn't have the best insurance in the world, just average insurance. I do know that they only take a certain number of medicare patients. Some insurances don't want you to go there (but they do the same thing with the Mayo Clinic, Moffit Cancer Center, MD Anderson, etc. - I checked all of them out before I went to CTCA and insurance has to approve it) It is usually out-of-network, so the different deductible would apply.
They do have programs for travel. They usually pay for the patient (flight - or Angel flights) and the caregiver they can get discounts for them. If you drive you can turn in your miles for reimbursement. They have hotels, and rooms that you can get discounted. If you go to Zion, check on the rates at the beach resort (they give patient discount). They can get discounts on trains also. They pick you up from the airports, etc. take u to the hotel or hospital. They will pick you up from the hotel and take you to the hospital (and take u back). No need to rent a car, unless you want to. They provide all meals to the patient and the caregivers is covered up to a certain dollar amount.
If you go to any of the hospitals. Tell them you need to speak to someone about travel, and to someone about hardship.
They have a program (I guess they still do) that at every trip (or once a month) you can fill out paperwork with financial info, bills, etc. It is submitted, and most can get a check for expenses. Mine usually averaged $300 - $500, plus the miles I drove from FL to get there.
I hope this helps. I know there is more info. If I remember anymore or find out anymore I will post the info.
They are also getting ready to build a new CTCA right outside of Atlanta, GA.

Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2011

Hello, thanks for all the info. Did you like the care received there. I live in new jersey but they want to fly me out to chicago. Do they pay every trip? Do I still have to go there when there is a CTCA in Philadelphia. I was told they would accept blue cross as in network prices without added expense to me. My concern is going over the insurance cap on catostrophe. I had a bad experience with another onchologist and am looking to change. Am currently in remission. If I go there and not decide to get treatment there will they renig on their word. Any feedback is appreciated. Went on the internet to review the facility and saw more bad reviews than good. thanks in advance, anan

Posts: 10
Joined: Jan 2011

My husband had a rescue stem cell tranplant at CTCA outside of Chicago in September. He was hospitalized for 8 weeks due to complications. He was given 2 choices: to go home on hospice or to have the rescue tranplant with a ten-fifteen % chance of survival. Most oncologists would have sent him home to die. Dr. Redei (he is the Hematologist-Oncologist, more on him later) and his staff SAVED HIS LIFE...he is cancer free right now and recovering with complications but he is still alive and I owe it to them. I cannot say enough good things about the facility and Dr. Redei, the care managers, the floor nurses, etc, etc, etc.

The other poster is absolutely correct. You have nothing to lose by going for a second opinion. It is free except your hotel which would cost max $40/night and they give you 7 nights free for the initial evaluation. Your flight out for you and a caregiver are free, (first time, then caregivers pay)they pick you up at Chicago-O'Hare in a stretch limo. All transportation when you get to Zion is included too, and meals at the hospital. With a blood cancer you would have to go to Zion, as Dr. Redei is the best Hem-Onc in the world in my opinion. My hubby is from NJ and we started out at the Philly facility but were referred to Zion because he needed a transplant. When my hubby was gravely ill and losing his mental edge, Dr. Redei approved 5 family members to fly to Chicage for free to visit. (what hospital even has a policy that allows this and what doctor would do that???) They treat the WHOLE person, not just the disease of cancer, as we all know it affects your entire existence, and that of your family as well. The dieticians are absolutely great...they have support for you and your caregiver of all kinds, activities, you really will not believe what they do for you until you go and experience it. Not only all of that, they have world-class technologies that are only found at CTCA...if you have a study by eleven am you will have results that day. Dr. Redei reviews ALL studies, PET scans, even pathologies such as a bone marrow biopsy personally with the radiologist/pathologist. I cannot say enough good things about them and the facility. They CARE...they will laugh with you, cry with you and support you throughout the experience. I met one lady that works in the Pastoral care dept. She struck up a conversation with me in the elevator...I was really down then, she took me to lunch and shopping, gave me her personal cell phone number. They really go above and beyond. You can even get a haircut/manicure/massage there for practically no money and it all goes back to the patients via the program the other poster mentioned.

Congrats on your remission. I owe my husband's life to CTCA and Dr. Redei. Good luck if you go. And if you decide not to be treated there there are no repercussions.

miss maggie
Posts: 929
Joined: Mar 2010

Dear Sarah,

First let me say. I am not a doctor, or have I had experience with this treatment center. Perhaps they have helped some patients?? This is what my opinion is only.

First of all this treatment center is not an approved cancer center by the NCI (National Camcer Insititure). I would suggest you go to the NCI site, and check for a hospital in your state and city. You will see all the greatest hospitals in the US. Example, MD Anderson, Sloan Kettering, etc. Next, I was very offended by one of their commercials on TV. On their commercial, a patient claims he was DX with pancreatic cancer. His doctor says to him "what are you smiling about, you have only 6 months to live". Hmmmm? I can't imagine a doctor saying this, but hey, you never know. Then he goes on to say, what wonderful people and doctors at CTCA. Not sure if he states he was cured. Most certainly if he had a DX of pancreatic, I would be delighted if he was cured. I find it no laughing matter being DX with pancreatic cancer. My husband had this cancer, and unbelivable, he lived a good quality of life for 2 years. He passed away in may 2004 with no pain. He was treated with Gemcitabine (Gemzer)

Let me add this. Years ago when I was a teenager, there was a lady with very little 0r no assets. She was DX with stomach cancer. She was treated and operated on by a state or city hospital. Keep in mind, years ago, we didn't have the options we have now. Anyway, she went on to live for 30 years or so. The cancer never came back. It is always, who helps you the most.

My opinion only. Maggie DX 09/09 Sub type "Extranodal marginal zone, stage 1, b Cell lymphoma remission 1/11

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011

I was hoping there is someone on this site who is a survivor of stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma that can shed some light on making sure that we have our son at the best hopsital in the area for treatment. He has just begun chemo and we found out today that the bone marrow biopsy has shown it to be deep in his bone. This of coure concerns us more and looking to bring him to this site when he is ready to reach out for support. He is 19 and a fantastic young man.


COBRA666's picture
Posts: 2413
Joined: May 2010

I am follicular non hodgkins stage 4 myself and a survivor. Is your son fnhl as well? Knowing where you are located may help in suggesting a facility by one of the great people on this site. They are here to help in any way they can. Hang in and someone will be here to affer assistance soon. John(FNHL-1-4A-5/10)

Posts: 2
Joined: Mar 2011

Thanks John, we are in Nashville, TN he is hodgkins lymphoma stage 4 I don't know anymore specifics other than where it all is in his body. Thanks for your post look forward to more info and hope you are doing ok.

allmost60's picture
Posts: 3184
Joined: Jul 2010

Hi Rosey,
The one thing about bone involvement is that the chemo treatments will be tailored around all areas that are involved. Staging doesn't seem to be the biggest concern with Lymphoma from everything I have learned. For instance...I don't have bone involvement, but John does. We both had the exact same treatment and he has done better than me with reaching remission. It's strange how each one of us re-acts to the treatments even though our situations are similar. We have others in the group that will be able to share more information with you, so keep checking back. I'll keep your son in my prayers. Love...Sue (FNHL-2-3A-6/10)

Posts: 164
Joined: Feb 2011

I agree with Sue. When I was DX with FNHL Stage 4, I was told (for me) the treatment would be the same whether the bone marrow had cancer cells or not. My BMB had 'suspicious' activity, but the lab would not state 'yes' or 'no' to whether my bone marrow had cancer in it. so because it's "suspicious" my Onc labeled my DX as Stage 4. but then he reassured me, the treatment would be the same if it was Stage 3, so he said it really doesn't matter. maybe not to him, but I would rather say "my FNHL is stage 3" it just 'sounds' better than stage 4. but if the treatment is the same, what does it matter as long as the treatment fits the person and their cancer. Knock it out and strive for "No Activity". My husband joked, "no activity in the brain either?" laughter is always good too, and my husband provided plenty. he was such a trooper through this journey we went on together.

not sure this helps or not, it's more important to trust the knowledge of your Oncologist and to work with a lymphomas specialist who keeps on top of the latest research and has access to the latest treatments.

Take Care

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