• What shall I expect at my first oncologist appointment??

    Asked by maxie on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    What shall I expect at my first oncologist appointment??

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • Cindy's Avatar

      It would depend upon your treatment - surgery, chemo and/or radiation and what will be done first. I was diagnosed by a regular gynecologist who referred me to a gynecological oncologist for my surgery in another city about 3 and a half hours drive away. During my first gynecological oncologist appointment which was at a hospital, they did an examination, chest x-rays, and echo-cardiogram, etc. to assess my condition and make sure I was healthy enough to go through the surgery. The gynecological oncologist explained the surgery I was going to go through and what I needed to do to prepare for the surgery which involved showering with an antibacterial soap, taking in only clear liquids the day prior to the surgery, and taking a bowel prep to empty my colon. After the surgery I met with a general oncologist for my chemo. The first visit with him involved explaining the treatment I would receive, the side affects, and what I could/should bring with me. He gave me a prescription for a drug to prevent me from getting nauseous from the chemo drugs. He also scheduled me to get a PET/CT scan and an appointment for out patient surgery to insert a portacath in a vein in my chest for administering the chemo drugs. He also did a blood and urine test.

      over 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      At my first Oncologist apt., he already had the information from previous biopsies, etc. It was straight to work type, gave me blood test, set me up for treatment, told me what they would do, what to expect. Then we started treatment. This doc was a no nonsense straight forward type of doc, didn't hold back on the information. I like that.
      Good luck with your treatments!

      over 4 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar


      If you can, take someone with you - a trusted partner or friend or family member. Someone who can take notes...

      AND - write down all of your questions.
      Check them off as they get answered.
      I did this for every single appointment with my oncologist, and each time, I got all of my questions answered... And that was awesome.
      My questions ranged from do I have to give up coffee to how much can I exercise while on chemo (a lot, as it turns out) to predicted recovery time to probability of recurrence to probability of ovarian failure (aka - chemopause).

      At my very first appointment, I received information from the pathology report, information about a clinical trial, and options and recommendations for treatments. No one rushed me through questions - everyone was very patient... No decisions were made at that appointment.

      Good luck - waiting is way way harder than actually treatment, in my humble opinion.

      And please remember - NOTHING should stop you from getting a second opinion, if you feel you need one.

      over 4 years ago
    • jihorn's Avatar

      Maxi, meeting with the oncologist(s) was intimidating at first. Bring someone with you, write everything down and remember there are no stupid questions. Each appointment is different. I was diagnosed by my gyn. She then the sent the records to a hospital near me. Which also happened to be her hospital of choice. I called for the appointment and let the staff know that I had a fast growing tumor and needed to be seen asap. Be assertive, I was seen in 3 days. My oncologist then ordered a CT and a PET scan. In his office I had a complete physical. My test showed where the tumor was located and then we plotted a course of action. One month from my diagnosis I underwent a radical hysterectomy, healed for another month then started treatment yesterday. Ever course of treatment is different. Because my tumor was larger than originally thought my course of care change three times. I have a great team of doctors working for me. They each take the time to explain things to me and answer all my questions.
      Take notes, read all the material they give and talk with your nurses. They are you life line. Don't forget to tell them everything no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. Eat healthy and exercise. Sleeping helps to heal your body as well. Talk to others and join support groups. Be strong and positive!

      over 4 years ago
    • jksatx's Avatar

      Complete exam,referred to head and neck surgeon for biopsy(Oral Cancer)I fared pretty well,went through Chemo for 3 months only got sick one night.Surgery rocked my world,30 Radiation treatments along with second round of Chemo.This is survivable,I was stage IV and Cancer free almost 2 years.I wish you well and let me know of your progess young lady.God Bless and God Speed.

      over 4 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      You can expect an exam and scans possibly. The physician will then recommend a treatment if they confirm the cancer. Do not make a decision right away. Take a few days to research the options. The oncologist could recommend surgery, radiation (tandem and ovoid), chemo or a combination of those three. Cervical cancer is not that high of a priority here in the states, it is the 6th leading cause of death for women whereas it is number 1 in Europe. Make sure you get at least 2 chemo options and ask for names of other patients who have had these treatments from that doctor to get an idea of what their experience was. Good luck!

      over 4 years ago
    • IKickedIt's Avatar

      I went to three different oncologists before I decided on which one I'd use for my treatments. All three initial consultations were pretty much the same. My husband went with me to help keep me emotionally balanced, ask questions and write down the answers.

      Each doctor gave me a physical exam, reviewed the results of my scans, biopsies, blood work, etc. They all discussed the treatment options with us. One doctor (and we eliminated him pretty quickly) didn't discuss the details of the treatment, but just told us what it was going to be and then pushed the other services his office offered. The other two doctors who were both affiliated with the university hospital were both so amazing spending so much time with us detailing the treatments, the side effects, the details of my particular cancer and my prognosis.

      Ask to visit the chemo center - the infusion room. Make sure it's clean and comfortable. Make sure it's what will work best for you. I preferred a small infusion center where I'd have the same nurses every treatment vs. the large university hospital centers with dozens of chairs. Ask about the affiliations so should you get sick on the weekend, what hospitals are they affiliated with and whether they have a 24-hour number you can call. You may want to ask about whether you can receive your treatments at a center/hospital that is closer to home. Ask how often you will have an appointment with the doctor. Ask if there is a nurse practitioner on staff just for those times when you need to call in and ask a question about how you're feeling.

      Yes, you want the best oncologist, but unfortunately, this is going to be your life for the next few months. You have to be comfortable with this doctor, the infusion center and its location and environs. I truly liked my oncologist and nurses. Don't add additional stress to this already stressful, emotional time by going to someone you don't like or aren't comfortable with.

      over 4 years ago
    • weezyschannel's Avatar

      You can expect to be a nervous wreck for one. I was..I was shaking so bad my teeth were chattering. My oncologist was direct with me. No beating around the bush, just to the point. .Not really what I wanted to hear, but at least I knew the truth. We were sent to a meeting room around a table. Sat with papers, results, and everything. Will probably tell you everything they know and what needs to be done.

      make sure to ask questions! Write down all your questions on a piece of paper and be prepared. You may go in knowing what you want to ask, but will forget what you wanted to ask.

      over 4 years ago

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