What to Expect at Your First Oncology Appointment

Navigating a cancer diagnosis and making a treatment plan can feel scary. We understand that you will have lots of questions and concerns. Our compassionate cancer care team is here for you as you start this journey — and every step along the way. 

Getting Started: Making Your First Cancer Appointment

At Memorial Cancer Institute, you can make appointments by calling our Patient Access Center at 954-265-4325. We aim to see people newly diagnosed with cancer as quickly as possible. We are typically able to schedule your first appointment within a few days of your diagnosis. 

When you connect with a representative at the Patient Access Center, you’ll speak with someone who understands what you’re going through. This compassionate team works only with people who have cancer. They are here for you from your first appointment to your last. 

Our representatives are trained to help people navigate cancer treatment. They know which doctors you need to see and can schedule all your appointments, tests and treatments. They also understand that you may have needs beyond your medical appointments. Representatives can connect you with our wide range of supportive services or a triage nurse if you’re having symptoms that concern you. 

What to Expect at Your First Oncology Appointment

Before your first visit to the Memorial Cancer Institute, you’ll speak with your designated patient navigator by phone. Your patient navigator is a specially trained cancer care coordinator. They will work with you and your family throughout your treatment. 

Your cancer care team will review your case before your first appointment. Depending on your diagnosis, you may meet with multiple doctors during your first visit. Your care team will review your health history as well as any testing or imaging you’ve already had. You may have additional imaging or tests during that initial visit. Expect your first appointment to last a few hours. 

How to Prepare for Your First Cancer Appointment

Before you see us for the first time, it’s helpful to spend some time preparing. To get ready for your visit, we suggest:

  • Getting in touch with your health insurance provider. They can give details about your plan’s coverage and ways to navigate bills and payments.
  • Creating an account on MyChart. You can use this to schedule future appointments, check test results and receive secure messages. 
  • Completing any pre-appointment forms online or on paper to bring with you.
  • Double-checking that your oncologist has access to any imaging or tests you had elsewhere.

What to Bring to Your First Cancer Appointment

To get the most out of your first visit, you’ll want to have a few things with you. These should include:

  • Your insurance card and relevant payment information
  • A complete list of any medications and supplements you are currently taking
  • A list of questions about your diagnosis, treatment plan and what side effects to expect. Be sure to ask about cancer support services we can provide and how to seek care from our integrative medicine specialists.
  • A notebook to keep track of information and what steps you’ll want to take next
  • A trusted friend or family member. Not only is it nice to have company, but you’ll be receiving lots of information during your appointment. It’s helpful to have an additional person listening, taking notes and asking questions.