When to Call the Doctor
Women are often uncertain when to call a doctor about symptoms or concerns that arise during treatment. Especially during the first weeks of chemotherapy (radiation is easier because you see a caregiver each day and have a chance to ask questions), it can be hard to sort out "normal" reactions from ones that should be reported. Of course, the bottom line is that you should absolutely call your doctor or nurse with any question that you have. It is much better to be told "don't worry" than to ignore something that becomes a crisis.
Part ot the issue, then, is the time of day. Most things can wait for morning. A few things can't. It is important that, from the very beginning of treatment, you have phone numbers and directions as to whom and how to call. At BIDMC, there is an oncologist on call 24/7. If your question arises at 2 AM, you will speak with the doctor on call. If it is noon, you likely can reach your own doctor. Be reassured, however, that all information does get passed along, and, no matter whom you speak with, your own doctor will know about your situation.
CancerNet from ASCO has an excellent article about this. Here's the introduction:
When to Call the Doctor During Cancer Treatment
Cancer and cancer treatments may cause side effects that require the immediate attention of your doctor and health care team. But knowing when to call the doctor during treatment is difficult. For example, it's hard to know when you might have a common cold versus a more serious infection. In this article, learn about the signs and symptoms of infections, deep vein thrombosis (a potentially life-threatening blood clot), and tumor lysis syndrome (a condition that can cause organ failure)—all of which require an immediate call to your doctor. Plus, learn ways to preventthese side effects and get tips on communicating with your health care team about them.
To read more: