Knowing what to expect and what to take with you to your first appointment can help make things run more smoothly. Because you’ll be getting a lot of information, it’s a good idea to take along a family member or friend to help you keep up with it and support you if you’re feeling stressed. In addition, here are some tips to help prepare.
Questions to Ask When You Make Your Appointment
When you call to make your first appointment with your oncologist, here are some things to ask:
• What is the exact location of the office (including floor, room, or suite number)?
• Where is the best place to park?
• What is the doctor's full name and title?
• What is the cancellation policy for appointments?
• Does the physician participate in my insurance plan?
• Will the office bill my insurance company, or is full payment of my coinsurance expected at the time of the visit?
• What medical records do I need to bring with me (diagnostic reports, surgical reports, notes from my referring physician, etc.)?
What to Take to Your First Appointment
Before your first appointment, gather all the things you may need to take along, including:
• Insurance cards
• Surgical reports
• X-ray/scan results and/or films
• Blood work results
• Contact information for other doctors you have seen
• Pathology reports
• Specimen slides
• List of current medications
• List of questions for your physicians and/or the business office
In addition, these lists of questions can help remind you of things you want to ask:
Questions to Ask Your Doctor at Your First Appointment
Questions to Ask the Clinic about Insurance/Financial Assistance
What to Expect At Your First Appointment
At your first appointment, you’ll meet your cancer care team and learn about your treatment plan. You’ll receive a lot of information, so this is where having a family member or friend with you can be very helpful.
Plan to spend at least an hour, which may include:
• Meeting your doctor, which could include an examination
• Having additional tests needed for an accurate diagnosis to guide your treatment
• Meeting your nurse and other members of your medical team
• Meeting with your financial counselor to discuss your insurance, your ability to afford your treatment, and billing questions