At Pharmacy Advantage, we understand that cancer patients and their loved ones face hardships on a daily basis. Our clinical team is devoted to supplying each customer personalized quality care while assisting in therapy management and reduction of prescription costs. We continuously collaborate with patients, families and healthcare providers to ensure access, tolerance, and adherence of all medications. Delivering compassionate care with a helping hand at every confusing step is our Pharmacy Advantage promise.

About the Disease

Cancer grows out of normal cells in the body. Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when the body doesn't. Cancer appears to occur when the growth of abnormal cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too rapidly. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells. It can also occur when cells "forget" how to die.

There are many different kinds of cancers. Cancer can develop in almost any organ or tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin, bones, or nerve tissue. The three most common cancers in men in the United States are prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer. In women in the U.S., the three most frequently occurring cancers are breast cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer.

Symptoms of the Disease

Cancer can cause many different symptoms that can be similar to many other illnesses. Evaluation by a medical professional is the only way to determine if you have cancer.

Here are some potential warning signs:

  • A thickening or lump in the breast or any other part of the body
  • A new or a change in an existing mole
  • A sore that does not heal
  • Hoarseness or a cough that does not go away
  • Changes in bowel or bladder habits
  • Discomfort after eating
  • A hard time swallowing
  • Weight gain or loss with no known reason
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Feeling weak or very tired

Most often, these symptoms are not due to cancer. They may also be caused by benign tumors or other problems. Only a doctor can tell for sure. Anyone with these symptoms or other changes in health should see a doctor to diagnose and treat problems as early as possible.

Usually, early stages of cancer do not cause pain. If you have symptoms, do not wait to feel pain before seeing a doctor.

Source: National Institutes of Health

Causes of the Disease

Tumors can be benign or malignant:

Benign Tumors:

  • These are not cancer.
  • They are rarely life-threatening.
  • Generally, they can be removed, and they usually do not grow back.
  • Cells from benign tumors do not invade the tissues around them.
  • Cells from benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body.

Malignant Tumors:

  • These tumors ARE cancer.
  • Malignant tumors are generally more serious than benign tumors. They may be life-threatening.
  • Malignant tumors often can be removed, but sometimes they grow back.
  • Cells from malignant tumors can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs.

Cells from malignant tumors can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Cancer cells spread by breaking away from the original (primary) tumor and entering the bloodstream or lymphatic system. The cells can invade other organs, forming new tumors that damage these organs. The spread of cancer is called metastasis. Most cancers are named for where they start. For example, lung cancer starts in the lung, and breast cancer starts in the breast. Lymphoma is cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. And leukemia is cancer that starts in white blood cells (leukocytes).

When cancer spreads and forms a new tumor in another part of the body, the new tumor has the same kind of abnormal cells and the same name as the primary tumor. For example, if prostate cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually prostate cancer cells. The disease is metastatic prostate cancer, not bone cancer. For that reason, it is treated as prostate cancer, not bone cancer. Doctors sometimes call the new tumor "distant" or metastatic disease.

Doctors often cannot explain why one person develops cancer and another does not. But research shows that certain risk factors increase the chance that a person will develop cancer. These are the most common risk factors for cancer:

  • Growing older
  • Tobacco
  • Sunlight
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Certain chemicals and other substances
  • Some viruses and bacteria
  • Certain hormones
  • Family history of cancer
  • Alcohol
  • Poor diet, lack of physical activity or being overweight

Many of these risk factors can be avoided. Others, such as family history, cannot be avoided. People can help protect themselves by staying away from known risk factors whenever possible.

If you think you may be at risk for cancer, you should discuss this concern with your doctor. You may want to ask about reducing your risk and about a schedule for checkups.

Over time, several factors may act together to cause normal cells to become cancerous. When thinking about your risk of getting cancer, these are some things to keep in mind:

  • Not everything causes cancer.
  • Cancer is not caused by an injury, such as a bump or bruise.
  • Cancer is not contagious. Although being infected with certain viruses or bacteria may increase the risk of some types of cancer, no one can "catch" cancer from another person.
  • Having one or more risk factors does not mean that you will get cancer. Most people who have risk factors never develop cancer.
  • Some people are more sensitive than others to the known risk factors.
  • You also may want to read the NCI booklet Cancer and the Environment. (need .pdf for download)

Source: Adapted from National Institutes of Health

Cancer Treatment and Medications

Treatment plans for cancer will vary depending on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease. Many people with cancer want to take an active part in making decisions about their medical care. It is natural to want to learn all you can about your disease and treatment choices. However, shock and stress after the diagnosis can make it hard to think of everything you want to ask the doctor. It often helps to make a list of questions before an appointment.

To help remember what the doctor says, you may take notes or ask whether you may use a tape recorder. Some people also want to have a family member or friend with them when they talk to the doctor - to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen.

You do not need to ask all your questions at once. You will have other chances to ask the doctor or nurse to explain things that are not clear and to ask for more information.

Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat cancer include surgeons, medical oncologists, hematologists, and radiation oncologists. The treatment plan depends mainly on the type of cancer and the stage of the disease.

Doctors also consider the patient's age and general health. Often, the goal of treatment is to cure the cancer. In other cases, the goal is to control the disease or to reduce symptoms for as long as possible. The treatment plan may change over time.

Most treatment plans include surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Some involve hormone therapy or biological therapy. In addition, stem cell transplantation may be used so that a patient can receive very high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Some cancers respond best to a single type of treatment. Others may respond best to a combination of treatments.

Treatments may work in a specific area (local therapy) or throughout the body (systemic therapy):

Local therapy removes or destroys cancer in just one part of the body. Surgery to remove a tumor is local therapy. Radiation to shrink or destroy a tumor also is usually local therapy.

Systemic therapy sends drugs or substances through the bloodstream to destroy cancer cells all over the body. It kills or slows the growth of cancer cells that may have spread beyond the original tumor. Chemotherapy, hormone therapy, and biological therapy are usually systemic therapy.

Your doctor can describe your treatment choices and the expected results. You and your doctor can work together to decide on a treatment plan that is best for you.

Before starting treatment, you may want a second opinion about your diagnosis and treatment plan. Many insurance companies will cover a second opinion if your doctor requests it. It may take some time and effort to gather medical records and arrange to see another doctor. Usually it is not a problem to take several weeks to get a second opinion. In most cases, the delay in starting treatment will not make treatment less effective. But some people with cancer need treatment right away. To make sure, you should discuss this delay with your doctor.

Because cancer treatments often damage healthy cells and tissues, side effects are common. Side effects depend mainly on the type and extent of the treatment. Side effects may not be the same for each person, and they may change from one treatment session to the next.

Before treatment starts, the health care team will explain possible short term and long term side effects and suggest ways to help you manage them. This team may include nurses, a dietitian, a physical therapist, and others. At any stage of cancer, supportive care is available to relieve the side effects of therapy, to control pain and other symptoms, and to ease emotional and practical problems. You may want to talk to the doctor about taking part in a clinical trial (a research study of new treatment methods).

Source: National Institutes of Health

Oral Oncolytics:

    Afinitor (everolimus)
    • Kidney
    • Pancreatic
    Arimidex (anastrozole)
    • Breast
    Femara (letrozole)
    • Breast
    Gleevec (imatinib)
    • Leukemias - Chronic Myeloid Leukemia - CML & Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - ALL
    • Myelodysplastic Syndromes - MDS
    • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor - GIST
    Hycamtin (topotecan)
    • Ovarian
    • Cervical
    • Small Cell Lung
    Nexavar (sorafenib)
    • Unresectable Liver
    • Renal Cell Carcinoma - RCC
    Revlimid (lenalidomide)
    • Multiple Myeloma
    • Myelodysplastic syndrome
    Sprycel (dasatinib)
    • Chronic Myeloid Leukemia - CML
    • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - ALL
    Sutent (sunitinib)
    • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor - GIST
    • Renal Cell Carcinoma - RCC
    • Unresectable Pancreatic

Oral Oncolytics (Continued):

    Tamoxifen
    • Breast
    Tarceva (erlotinib)
    • Non Small Cell Lung Cancer
    • Pancreatic
    Tasigna (nilotinib)
    • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia – CML
    Temodar (temozolomide)
    • Brain
    Thalomid (thalidomide)
    • Multiple Myeloma
    Tykerb (lapatinib)
    • Breast
    Votrient (pazopanib HCL)
    • Renal Cell Carcinoma - RCC
    Xeloda (capecitabine)
    • Colorectal
    • Breast
    Xtandi (enzalutamide)
    • Prostate
    Zolinza (vorinostat)
    • Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
    Zytiga (abiraterone acetate)
    • Prostate

Other Oncolytics:

    Sylatron (peginterferon alfa-2b)
    • Injection for melanoma
    Yervoy (ipilimumab)
    • Infusion for melanoma
    Zelboraf (vemurafenib)
    • Treatment for BRAF mutation-positive metastatic melanoma

The information on this site is intended to provide useful health and wellness information and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical advice from a qualified physician. If you are having health issues and concerns, contact a licensed physician or healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. For questions or concerns regarding your medications please contact your pharmacist.

Oral Oncolytics:

    Afinitor (everolimus)
    • Kidney
    • Pancreatic
    Arimidex (anastrozole))
    • Breast
    Femara (letrozole))
    • Breast
    Gleevec (imatinib))
    • Leukemias - Chronic Myeloid Leukemia - CML & Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - ALL
    • Myelodysplastic Syndromes - MDS
    • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor - GIST
    Hycamtin (topotecan)
    • Ovarian
    • Cervical
    • Small Cell Lung
    Nexavar (sorafenib)
    • Unresectable Liver
    • Renal Cell Carcinoma - RCC
    Revlimid (lenalidomide)
    • Multiple Myeloma
    • Myelodysplastic syndrome
    Sprycel (dasatinib)
    • Chronic Myeloid Leukemia - CML
    • Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia - ALL
    Sutent (sunitinib)
    • Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor - GIST
    • Renal Cell Carcinoma - RCC
    • Unresectable Pancreatic

Oral Oncolytics (Continued):

    Tamoxifen
    • Breast
    Tarceva (erlotinib)
    • Non Small Cell Lung Cancer
    • Pancreatic
    Tasigna (nilotinib)
    • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia – CML
    Temodar (temozolomide)
    • Brain
    Thalomid (thalidomide)
    • Multiple Myeloma
    Tykerb (lapatinib)
    • Breast
    Votrient (pazopanib HCL)
    • Renal Cell Carcinoma - RCC
    Xeloda (capecitabine)
    • Colorectal
    • Breast
    Xtandi (enzalutamide)
    • Prostate
    Zolinza (vorinostat)
    • Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma
    Zytiga (abiraterone acetate)
    • Prostate

Other Oncolytics:

    Sylatron (peginterferon alfa-2b)
    • Injection for melanoma
    Yervoy (ipilimumab)
    • Infusion for melanoma
    Zelboraf (vemurafenib)
    • Treatment for BRAF mutation-positive metastatic melanoma

The information on this site is intended to provide useful health and wellness information and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical advice from a qualified physician. If you are having health issues and concerns, contact a licensed physician or healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. For questions or concerns regarding your medications please contact your pharmacist.

Patient Enrollment Form

Use the online Enrollment Form to order your prescriptions from Pharmacy Advantage and enroll in our Mail Order program. Mail your original prescriptions to:
Pharmacy Advantage Corporate HQ
Attn: New Member Enrollment
735 John R. Road, Suite 150
Troy, MI 48083

Pharmacy Advantage can accept only original prescription drug orders from patients, and faxed prescriptions can be accepted only from the prescribing practitioners.

The information on this site is intended to provide useful health and wellness information and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical advice from a qualified physician. If you are having health issues and concerns, contact a licensed physician or healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. For questions or concerns regarding your medications please contact your pharmacist.

Oncology Medication Request Form

General Medication Request Form

Physician Order Form

Financial Assistance

The staff at Pharmacy Advantage understands that prescription drugs can be expensive, especially for specialty medications. We are committed to helping our patients find ways to get the specialty medications they need, at prices they can manage. Pharmacy Advantage is dedicated to finding patient funding whenever possible in order to eliminate interruptions in therapy due to concerns over drug costs.

There are patient assistance programs for people who meet any of the following criteria:

  • Have insurance with a high co-pay
  • Incur a high deductible
  • Have Medicare or are eligible for Medicare
  • Have no prescription drug coverage and live on a limited income
  • Have lost their job

Many of our patients are currently enrolled in a co-pay assistance program and our clinical staff members would like to assist them in finding the program that best fits their needs. In order to receive assistance each program does have certain criteria that need to be met. The clinical staff at Pharmacy Advantage is happy to work with you in order to assist in completing the necessary steps.

If they are not currently enrolled and would like to discuss their options, please contact the clinical department at (800) 456-2112 extension 5, Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Programs from Cancer Drug Manufacturers and Foundations:

The following is a list of some drug manufacturers and foundations that offer financial assistance programs for people living with cancer who cannot afford to buy the medications they have been prescribed. The clinical staff at Pharmacy Advantage is happy to work with you in order to assist in completing the necessary steps. If you need financial assistance for a drug not listed here, please contact one of our pharmacists.

Drug Name, Manufacturer or Foundation, Telephone Number information:

Drug Name / Program Manufacturer Phone Number
ACT Program Merck 866-363-6379
Amgen Assist Amgen 805-447-1000
AZ and Me Prescription Savings Program AstraZeneca 800-424-3727
Cares by GSK GlaxoSmithKline 888-663-4752
Commitment to Access GlaxoSmithKline 888-825-5249
Destination Access Bristol-Myers Squibb 800-861-0048
First Resource Pfizer 877-744-5675
Genentech Access Solutions Genentech® 866-422-2377
GSK Access GlaxoSmithKline 866-518-4357
Novartis Oncology Patient Assistance Program Novartis 866-884-5906

The information on this site is intended to provide useful health and wellness information and is not intended to be used in lieu of medical advice from a qualified physician. If you are having health issues and concerns, contact a licensed physician or healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment. For questions or concerns regarding your medications please contact your pharmacist.