Your First Appointment

Your first visit to the Cancer Centre is usually a consultation session where treatment options are discussed. You will meet an oncology nurse and an oncology doctor at this appointment. You may have more medical tests; for example, blood tests or x-rays. Usually, you will not begin treatment during your first appointment.

What to Bring
Your first visit may be overwhelming. Below is a list of things that might be helpful to bring to your first appointment:     
    • Bring your medications in their original containers. Bring enough medication to 
      last your stay in Halifax or Sydney.
    • Bring a list of things you are allergic to, including food and medication. 
    • Bring your health card and your private insurance card, if applicable. 
    • You may need to wait between tests or procedures,so bring something to help 
      you pass the time (books, music, crossword puzzles, knitting, etc.) 
    • You may find it helpful to bring a family member or friend you trust to your first 
      visit. They will be able to help you record and understand the information 
      discussed in the first appointment and provide support. 
    • You may find it helpful to bring a list of questions to ask at your appointment.

Examples of Questions to Ask
    • What type of cancer do I have? 
    • What stage is my cancer? 
    • Has the cancer spread to other parts of my body? 
    • What tests will I need? 
    • When will I get the results? 
    • What are my treatment options? 
    • What happens without treatment? 
    • Where can I get my cancer treatment? 
    • Will I need to stay in the hospital overnight to have my treatment? 
    • When will my treatments start? 
    • When and how will I know if my treatment is working? 
    • What side effects am I most likely to have? 
    • What can I do to manage the side effects? 
    • What support is available to help me with my emotions and feelings? (Feeling 
      sad, anxious or worried) 
    • What support is available to help me with my practical concerns? (Financial 
      concerns, parking) 
    • What support is available to help me with my physical concerns? (Feeling tired,   
      pain problem) 
    • Is there any support available for my family and friends? 
    • Will I be able to take care of myself during treatment or will I need help?

What Happens After my First Appointment?
Your cancer doctor and nurse will give you information to take home with you. You can read it and share it with others.
You will also be given a phone number that you can call if you have more questions after you go home.

You may be given an appointment to come back for more discussion or to begin treatment. If you will have chemotherapy it might be possible for you to have your treatment at your local hospital. If so, your cancer doctor and nurse will work with the team at your local hospital.

Your cancer doctor will send a letter to your family doctor. You may want to make an appointment with your family doctor to discuss your treatment plan. Your family doctor can be a helpful support throughout your cancer treatment.

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