Patient Resources

It’s a phrase no one is ever prepared to hear, "you have cancer.”

Those words can send shock and fright through your body, whether it’s the first time you’re hearing them or this is your second or even third battle with the disease. Just the thought of a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, and that’s where we want to help.

Battling cancer is not easy, but you can do it. Our hope is that this guide helps you take control of your diagnosis and proves to be an effective resource to both you and your loved ones during this difficult time.

Please click on a link below to view additional information. 

What is a cancer risk factor?

The National Cancer Institute defines a risk factor as anything that increases the chance you will develop cancer. Listed below in the FAQs are the most common risk factors, according to the National Cancer Institute.


At what age do my risks increase?

Age is the dominant risk factor for cancer. The majority of cancers develop in people 65 and older, but people of all ages, including children, can get cancer, too.


Does my family history indicate that I am risk for hereditary cancer?

About 5-10% of all cancers are inherited, meaning mutations in specific genes are passed from one blood relative to another. If you inherit one of these abnormal genes, you may have a greater chance of developing cancer. Risk indicators in the family are cancer at an early age, several members with the same type of cancer, and rare cancers. If you have these types of cancer in your family history, speak with your doctor about strategies to monitor and manage possible risks. Common cancers associated with family history include breast, colon/rectal, ovarian, prostate and endocrine.


What types of viruses and bacteria can cause cancer?

Being infected with certain viruses or bacteria may increase the risk of developing cancer:

  • Human papillomaviruses (HPVs): HPV infection is the main cause of cervical cancer. It also may be a risk factor for other types of cancer. A HPV vaccine is now available.
  • Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C viruses: Liver cancer can develop after many years of infection with hepatitis B or hepatitis C.
  • Human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus (HTLV-1): Infection with HTLV-1 increases a person's risk of lymphoma and leukemia.
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV): HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. People who have HIV infection are at greater risk of cancer, such as lymphoma and a rare cancer called Kaposi sarcoma.
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV): Infection with EBV has been linked to an increased risk of lymphoma.
  • Human herpes virus 8 (HHV8): This virus is a risk factor for Kaposi's sarcoma.
  • Helicobacter pylori: This bacterium can cause stomach ulcers. It also can cause stomach cancer and lymphoma in the stomach lining.


How do the hormones affect my risk?

Some studies show that menopausal hormone therapy (estrogen and progestin) may cause the risk of breast cancer, heart attack, stroke or blood clots. The same may be true of testosterone replacement therapy. Researchers say that testosterone replacement may introduce risks that are not fully known. If hormone therapy is suggested, explore the possible risk factors with a doctor.


Which chemicals do I need to watch out for?

Chemicals in the workplace may put some people at risk. Studies have shown painters, construction workers, and those in the chemical industry who have prolonged exposure to asbestos, benzene, Benzedrine, cadmium, nickel or vinyl chloride in the workplace have an increased risk of cancer. Although the risk is highest for workers with years of exposure, anyone handling pesticides, used engine oil, paint, solvents, and other chemicals should exercise caution and follow directions for use.


What is ionizing radiation?

Ionizing radiation is high frequency radiation with enough energy to damage the DNA in cells, which can cause cancer. Common sources of ionizing radiation are from rays that enter the Earth's atmosphere from outer space, radioactive fallout, radon gas and X-rays.

Radioactive fallout can come from accidents at nuclear power plants or from the production, testing, or use of atomic weapons. People exposed to fallout may have an increased risk of cancer, especially leukemia and cancers of the thyroid, breast, lung, and stomach.

Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot see, smell, or taste. It forms in soil and rocks. People who work in mines may be exposed to radon. In some parts of the country, radon is found in houses. People exposed to radon are at increased risk of lung cancer. Medical procedures are a common source of radiation. Low dose radiation comes from X-rays, and risk of cancer is very low. High dose radiation is used for cancer treatments. For both, the benefits nearly always outweigh the risk.


How serious are sunlight and UV rays?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation comes from the sun and tanning beds causing early aging of the skin and damage that can lead to skin cancer. Doctors encourage people of all ages to limit their time in the sun and to avoid other sources of UV radiation. Sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 should always be worn when in the sun.


Do all forms of tobacco increase my cancer risk?

Tobacco in any form can cause cancer. Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of cancer. Using tobacco products or regularly being around tobacco smoke (environmental or secondhand smoke) increases the risk of cancer.  Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop cancer of the lung, larynx (voice box), mouth, esophagus, bladder, kidney, throat, stomach, pancreas or cervix. They also are more likely to develop acute myeloid leukemia (cancer that starts in blood cells). Smokeless tobacco (snuff or chewing tobacco) increases risk of cancer of the mouth.


How does alcohol contribute to cancer risk?

Drinking in moderation, one drink for women and two drinks for men per day, is advisable. Having more than one or two drinks each day for many years may increase the chance of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, larynx, liver and breast. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol a person drinks and if tobacco is used with the alcohol.


What are some diet and exercise tips that reduce cancer risk?

People who have a poor diet, do not have enough physical activity, or are overweight may be at increased risk of several types of cancer. Diets high in fat may cause an increased risk of colon, uterus and prostate cancers. Lack of physical activity and being overweight are risk factors for breast, colon, esophagus, kidney and uterus cancers.

To reduce these risks, eat a nutritious diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Your diet should include foods that are high in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Low-fat meats, nuts, whole grain breads, fruits and vegetables help to build immunity to cancers. Limit foods high in fat such as butter, whole milk and fried foods.

As you can see, you can reduce your risk for most cancers by living a healthy lifestyle. If you have questions about decreasing your risk factors, speak to your doctor. Together, you can create a strategy including lifestyle changes and screenings for a healthier you.


What screenings should I schedule and when?

Determining what screenings to schedule and when to schedule them will be a decision made by you and your doctor. Circumstances that influence this decision are age, family history and lifestyle. These facts indicate if you are at an average, increased or high risk of developing a cancer. It is important to know and share this information with your doctor, so he or she can make an informed decision. For more information about risk factors specific to common cancers, see the links below.

Lexington Clinic recommends screening exams for the following types of cancer, regardless of risk factors, because research shows that regular screening may reduce death from these cancers.

Breast Cancer


  • Lump in the breast or underarm persisting after the menstrual cycle (may or may not be painful)
  • Swelling in the armpit
  • Pain or tenderness in the breast
  • Noticeable flattening or indentation on the breast
  • Change in the size, contour, texture, or temperature of the breast
  • Change in the nipple (retraction, dimpling, itching, a burning sensation or ulceration)
  • Unusual discharge (clear, bloody or colored)
  • Marble-like area under the skin
  • Area distinctly different from any other area on either breast

Risk factors:

  • Age (most cases occur in women age 50 or older)
  • Family history of breast or ovarian cancer before menopause
  • Previous abnormal breast biopsy results
  • Menstruation before age 12
  • Menopause after age 55
  • Obesity or weight gain after menopause
  • Hormone therapy
  • Never being pregnant or having the first child after age 30
  • Having fewer children
  • Higher education and socioeconomic status
  • Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
  • Lobular or ductal carcinoma in situ or atypical hyperplasia


Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that forms in a woman's cervix, which is located in the lower part of the uterus. Most cervical cancer is caused by a sexually transmitted virus called human papillomavirus. Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women and can often be successfully treated in the early stages, making routine pap tests, which check for cancer cells, essential for early detection.

  • Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
  • Change in menstrual cycle
  • Bleeding when contact with cervix during sex or using diaphragm
  • Pain during sex
  • Vaginal discharge tinged with blood
Risk factors:
  • First intercourse at an early age
  • Multiple sex partners (either of the woman or her partner)
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Race (more cases occur in African American, Hispanic and American Indian women)
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure before birth
  • HIV infection
  • Weakened immune system due to organ transplant, chemotherapy or chronic steroid use


Endometrial/Uterine Cancer

Endometrial (uterine) cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the lining of a woman-s uterus. Endometrial cancer is the most common form of uterine cancer, typically occurring in women age 50 and older. Endometrial cancer, if found in early stages, is very treatable.

  • Bleeding or vaginal discharge (not related to menstruation)
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic pain
Risk factors:
  • Increasing age
  • Increased estrogen exposure
  • First period before age 12
  • Menopause after age 55
  • Hormonal therapy without the use of progestin
  • Never being pregnant
  • History of infertility
  • Personal history of hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer
  • Obesity
  • Use of tamoxifen


Ovarian Cancer

Ovarian cancer is a type of cancer that forms in a woman's ovaries, the female reproductive organ that produces eggs. Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women. Early symptoms of ovarian cancer may be vague and can be attributed to other conditions. To increase your chances of an early diagnosis, when cancer is most treatable, remember that early symptoms of ovarian cancer often follow a pattern. They start suddenly, feel different than normal digestive or menstrual problems, and they occur almost daily and do not go away.

  • Frequent bloating
  • Pain belly or pelvis
  • Trouble eating, or feeling full quickly
  • Urinary problems, including frequent urination
Risk factors:
  • Age (most common in people over age 50)
  • Family history of ovarian (mother, daughter, sister, grandmother or aunt)
  • Inherited mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes
  • Northern European and/or Ashkenazi Jewish heritage
  • Never being pregnant


Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that forms in a man's prostate, the male reproductive gland that produces seminal fluid. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers in men, and when found in its early stages is very treatable. Generally, early stage prostate cancer has few symptoms, but symptoms typically appear as cancer progresses.

  • Frequent need to urinate (especially at night)
  • Difficulty starting or stopping a stream of urine
  • Weak or interrupted urinary stream
  • Leaking of urine when laughing or coughing
  • Inability to urinate standing up
  • Painful or burning sensation during urination or ejaculation
  • Blood in urine or semen
Risk factors:
  • Age (men 50 and older are at greater risk)
  • Family history of prostate cancer (especially father, brother or son)
  • Race - African American men have nearly twice the incidence of white men
  • Diet high in saturated fat and low in fruits and vegetables


Colon and Rectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer refers to cancers that form in either the colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer is most common in people age 50 and older. Colorectal cancer, if found in the early stages, is one of the most treatable forms of cancer. Generally early stage colorectal cancer has no symptoms, but symptoms typically appear as cancer progresses.

  • Changes in bowel movements (including persistent constipation or diarrhea)
  • Not being able to empty the bowel completely
  • Urgency to move the bowels
  • Rectal cramping
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Dark patches of blood in or on stool
  • Long, thin, "pencil stools"
  • Abdominal discomfort or bloating
  • Unexplained fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Pelvic pain
Risk factors:
  • Age (most common in people over age 50)
  • Family history of colorectal cancer (especially a parent or sibling)
  • Personal or family history of adenomatous polyps (especially a parent or sibling)
  • Personal history of inflammatory bowel disease
  • Diet high in fat (especially in red meat)
  • Diet low in fiber, fruits and vegetables
  • Physical inactivity
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Obesity


Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that forms in lung tissue, most often beginning in the cells that line the bronchi tubes. There are two main types of lung cancer, non-small cell lung cancer, which is the most common type, and small cell lung cancer. If cancer begins somewhere else in the body and spreads to the lungs, it is called metastatic lung cancer. Generally, early stage lung cancer has no symptoms, but symptoms typically appear as cancer progresses and affects lung function.

  • Chronic hacking or raspy coughing
  • Blood-streaked mucus
  • Recurring respiratory infections (including bronchitis or pneumonia)
  • Increasing shortness of breath
  • Wheezing and persistent chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Swelling of the neck and face
  • Pain and weakness in the shoulder, arm, or hand
Risk factors:
  • Cigarette, cigar or pipe smoking
  • Family history of lung cancer
  • Recurring exposure to radon or asbestos (especially for smokers), radiation, arsenic, air pollution and second hand smoke
  • Lung diseases such as tuberculosis (TB)


Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is a type of cancer that forms on skin. While this form of cancer most commonly affects skin that has been repeatedly exposed to sunlight, it can also occur on skin that received little or no sun exposure. There are three main types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.

  • Basal cell carcinoma
    Slow growing and unlikely to spread, this is the most common form of cancer in light-skinned people. Most often related to sun exposure, symptoms include a small, fleshy bump with a smooth, pearly appearance, often with an indentation in the middle; a scar like lesion that is firm to the touch; a bump that bleeds, crusts over, and then repeats the cycle; a red, tender, flat spot that bleeds easily; and tiny blood vessels in thin red lines with a spiderlike appearance.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
    Fast growing and very likely to spread, this is the second most common form of cancer in light-skinned people. Most often related to sun exposure, symptoms include a firm red bump; a growth or patch of skin that feels scaly, bleeds, or develops a crust; and a sore that does not heal.
  • Melanoma
    Though not as common as other types, melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. Melanoma can grow anywhere on the body, but most often occurs on the upper back of men and the upper back and legs of women. Melanoma may only affect your skin, or it may spread to other organs or bones. Symptoms of melanoma include any change in size, shape or color of a mole or other skin growth, such as birth marks. These changes may include, elevation, such as thickening or raising of a previously flat mole; surface, such as scaling, erosion, oozing, bleeding, or crusting; surrounding skin, such as redness, swelling, or small new patches of color around a larger lesion; sensation, such as itching, tingling, or burning; and consistency, such as softening or small pieces that break off easily.
How is cancer diagnosed?

A cancer diagnosis is rarely the result of a single test or procedure. The diagnosis process combines a thorough patient history and physical examination with diagnostic testing to determine whether a person has cancer or has a condition with symptoms that mimic cancer.

Procedures used to diagnose cancer may include laboratory testing, genetic testing, biopsy, endoscopy or surgery. These procedures can help cancer experts confirm or eliminate the presence of disease, monitor the disease process, and plan for and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.


Medical Oncology

A type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, chemotherapy can cure cancer, control cancer or ease cancer symptoms. The types of drugs used during chemotherapy depend on the type of cancer being treated, whether chemotherapy has been used before and other health problems, such as diabetes.

Radiation Oncology

IMRT (Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy)
Produces a dose of radiation that tightly conforms to the 3 dimensional shape of the target by varying both the beam shape and intensity across the shaped fields during this treatment. This allows your physician to sculpt the dose to more effectively treat the tumor and protect adjacent normal tissues and critical organs.

IGRT (Image Guided Radiation Therapy)
A form of adaptive radiation therapy which utilizes imaging technology to visually localize and direct radiation to the intended target. Due to organ movement within the body, the target for treatment can change based upon that movement. This target may be adjusted before treatment to insure that the correct site is treated and that critical structures are spared.

Cone Beam CT Imaging for IGRT
Cone beam technology creates three-dimensional axial CT slices of a patient's tumor, enabling therapists and doctors to compare these images with initial treatment planning images to determine how precisely focused the radiation set-up is. They can then make position adjustments, if necessary, to deliver a more targeted therapy to the patient. This technology leads to more highly customized radiation treatments, where higher doses are directed at the tumor, while sparing the patient's normal body structures.

Prostate Implants
Radio-active seeds implanted surgically into the prostate for treatment of certain forms of prostate cancer.

CT Simulation
In-house, networked CT scanning system which maximizes accuracy of treatment area by allowing 3-dimensional viewing of patient anatomy, coupled with 3-dimensional treatment planning and delivery.

Three-dimensional Treatment Planning
Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT): A treatment plan in which the profile of each radiation beam is shaped to fit the profile of the target from a beam's eye view using a multi-leaf collimator and a variable number of beams. When the treatment volume conforms to the shape of the tumor, the relative toxicity of radiation to the surrounding normal tissues is reduced, allowing a higher dose of radiation to be delivered to the tumor than conventional techniques would allow.

John D. Lindgren Resource Room

Dedicated as a memorial to local television journalist John Lindgren, the John E. Lindgren Patient and Family Resource Room provides a wealth of cancer-related educational resources for patients and their families. Members of the oncology treatment team are available to speak with and assist patients and their families in locating information. The room is open weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Library of Cancer Resource and Information Links

Information is a powerful tool when facing a cancer diagnosis. To assist you in your search for education and resources Lexington Clinic Cancer Centers offer an extensive link library, categorized by cancer type. If you find you have questions based on the information you read, please make a list of these questions to bring to your next appointment.


Start with these websites


General Cancer Information






Legal Issues


Cancer Specific Resources


Anemia/Hematologic Disorders


Bone Cancer


Brain Cancer - Neurological Oncology


Breast Cancer


Colorectal Cancer


Gastrointestinal Cancer


Gynecologic Cancer






Leukemia, Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma


Liver Cancer


Lung Cancer


Melanoma (Skin)


Mesothelioma (Asbestos-related Cancer)


Ovarian Cancer


Pancreatic Cancer


Prostate Cancer


Testicular Cancer
Cancer Centers Financial Counseling and Insurance

At Lexington Clinic's cancer centers, we understand that fighting cancer can be overwhelming at times. While our team of skilled healthcare professionals is available to address your physical and emotional needs, our financial counseling staff is available to assist you in understanding the financial aspects of your care.

As a new patient, you will meet with a financial coordinator, complete a patient information form and verify your insurance information. Please bring your insurance card(s) with you.  If you are covered by more than one insurance company, please let us know which company is the primary carrier.  This will help to avoid delays in receiving benefits. If there is any change in your health coverage, please contact our office to update your records.

Part of your financial planning process may include enrollment into foundation and/or copayment assistance programs which may offer assistance with your out-of-pocket cancer care expenses. Our financial coordinator will provide you with details of these programs and will assist you in the enrollment process.

We participate with most major insurance companies and will submit claims to your carrier on your behalf. We also accept Medicare assignment. However, you will be responsible for the deductible and co-payment amounts for provided service. You should consult your insurance carrier or your benefit booklet for a list of providers and benefits available to you.  Also, please inform our office if pre-certification is necessary with your plan.

Some insurance companies require you to use a specific laboratory or to obtain referrals or pre-authorization for office visits, hospital admissions and treatment.  It is your responsibility to obtain the initial referral and bring this to your first appointment. If you need assistance with your insurance requirements, it is our pleasure to assist you.

Co-payments are payable at the time of your visit. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. We will be happy to assist you in developing a payment plan.

If you have specific insurance questions, please contact our financial coordinators at (859) 258-6535.

What to Bring to Your Initial Visit


Your Medication

Please be sure to bring all medications you take, including prescriptions, those you buy over the counter, and alternative medicines. If you will need to take your medication anytime during your appointment, please be sure to bring your medication with you.


Insurance Card

Please bring your current insurance card(s) in addition to a photo ID. A list of insurance plans accepted by Lexington Clinic can be found at For questions regarding insurance acceptance, call our business office at (859) 258-6200.

Other Ways to Prepare for Your Appointment
  • Please feel free to bring a snack or lunch with you. Your initial visit may last anywhere from one to three hours.
  • Write down any questions or concerns you may have before your first visit and bring them with you.
  • Please arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment for registration.
  • If your referring physician is not a Lexington Clinic physician, please bring any recent scans, X-rays and reports if you have them.
  • Arrange for a friend or family member to come with you for support and to help listen and take notes if desired.
  • Let us know whenever you change your address, telephone number or insurance.
  • Wheelchairs are available if you need one.
Cancer Support Groups

Lexington Clinic is committed to the health and well-being of our patients. We understand that treatment is just one component of cancer care and have compiled a library of group and community support services to assist you.

Lexington Clinic Sponsored Support Groups
The Pink Ribbon Club

A support group for women with breast cancer or those who have had breast cancer. Meetings take place at the Lexington Clinic Center for Breast Care on the second Tuesday of each month from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. and offer women an opportunity to discuss breast cancer experiences, learn about resources and options, and receive emotional support from others facing breast cancer. For more information on the group, call (859) 258-4932.

Partners in Pink

A support group for the loved ones of breast cancer patients. The group, which strives to offer education, support and encouragement, meets quarterly at the Lexington Clinic Center for Breast Care and welcomes parents, siblings, spouses, partners, significant others and friends of breast cancer patients. For more information on the group, call (859) 258-4932.


Community or Organization
Sponsored Support Groups

In Lexington

Look Good...Feel Better (Women Only)

A support group that teaches female cancer patients a variety of beauty techniques to enhance their appearance. Meetings are held monthly at the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge and at The John D. Cronin Cancer Center. Attendees will receive complimentary cosmetics. Pre-registration is required. To make a reservation, contact Ashley Voss, American Cancer Society at (859) 260-8281.

I Can Cope

A program that helps cancer patients and those close to them learn about diagnosis and treatment while meeting others who are facing similar experiences. For more information, please call Ashley Voss, American Cancer Society at (859) 260-8281.


Cancer is a life-changing disease that takes a tremendous physical and emotional toll on those affected. The Y and LIVESTRONG have joined together to create LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, a research-based physical activity and well-being program designed to help adult cancer survivors reclaim their total health.


For Anyone Affected by Cancer
In Nicholasville

Cancer Support Group:

A support group for anyone affected by cancer. Meetings take place on the last Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. For details, contact Becky Doyle at (859) 887-2044, Mitsy Pine at (859) 885-5060, or Paula Sowers at (859) 885-9989.


Support Groups by Cancer Type

In Lexington

Reach to Recovery

An American Cancer Society peer support program for women with a concern about breast cancer. Patients can talk with volunteer breast cancer survivors, in person or over the phone, for support and encouragement. For additional information, call (800) 227-2345 or go to

The Journey Breast Cancer Support Group

A support group for those affected by breast cancer. For information, call Mary McKinley at (859) 223-9781 or

In Richmond

Breast Cancer Survivors Group

A support group for those affected by breast cancer. Meetings take place on the third Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. For more information, call Arlayne at (859) 623-4601.


In Lexington

Lost Chords Club

A support group of individuals with laryngectomies. Patients can request a personal visit from a volunteer. For additional information, call Johnny Lawson at (859) 234-4108 or (859) 588-0179.


In Lexington

Man to Man

An American Cancer Society support and education program for people affected by prostate cancer. Spouses are welcome to attend. Guest speakers vary by month. Individual support is available from a survivor upon request. Meetings take place on the second Tuesday of the month at Baptist Health Lexington Cancer Resource Center, Building E, on the 7th floor at 6:40 p.m. For information, please call (800) 227-2345 or (859) 276-3223.

Lexington Clinic South Broadway


Address: 1221 South Broadway, Lexington, KY 40504

Telephone: +1 (859) 258-4000

Hours: Mon - Fri: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Interested candidates please contact:
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Alexis Sturgill
Onboarding & Recruitment Specialist
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Tammy Spivey, PHR, SHRM-CP
Onboarding &
Recruitment Specialist
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