Be prepared for lots of information to be thrown at you. I went w/a notebook, but that's how I best handle any info, by writing down notes. Other folks will tell you to take a recorder (asking the dr's permission before recording your appt, of course) or bringing a family mbr or friend with you. I wish you all the best as you begin your journey. And don't hesitate to ask questions.
Adenocarcinoma, Cervical Cancer Questions
what to expect during a first visit to the oncologist?
Asked by hogfan03 on Tuesday, February 5, 2013
what to expect during a first visit to the oncologist?
10 Answers from the Community
QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS, QUESTIONS. This will be the time for you to gather some information. The link below provides a good list of questions you can ask. Like Shelby said, write it down. If possible, I would take someone with you because it's a lot of information. Keep your chin up!!
I did as both Buckeye and Tickling suggested and still came away baffled and feeling like I missed out. It is a scary appointment and if you don't write things down, you will forget most of it before you get out the door. Even with notes, I had trouble remembering what they all meant and I'm what they call a quick study. If you do come away with a blank, just remember to ask the questions again the next time (which will be easier).
I think I can help you with this question. I am an oncology nurse that specializes in gyne cancers. The first meeting is usually an introduction followed by a pelvic exam that may or may not go beyond a pap. Sometimes an ECC or EMB biopsy as well. Then the onc will tell you the tests and labs she will order and arrange to meet up with you when results are in. Once she has the diagnosis she will recommend a treatment. Both the ECC & EMB can be a bit uncomfortable if you tense up. Just some cramping but they are rather quick. Best of luck to you, Carm RN.
My husband came with me to my first oncologist appt and we both took notes....our notes were similar but we each had things that the other didn't. Onc went over the previous year mammo, the current mammo and MRI and explained everything to us....he then explained what he was proposing for Tx protocol and gave lots of time to ask questions...If I remember correctly (its 7 years this month) he spent close to 2 hours with us.....he also ordered additional testing to complete the Dx picture and necessary tests before starting chemo..
You might want to ask if they have any handouts or brochures on your diagnosis, tx, and outcomes available at the appt. Where I go for treatment at City of Hope they have a resource center where patients can go and gather books, pamphlets, handouts about their diagnosis, nutrtion, tx options, after care; I call it the "WALL". But it helps to have handouts to go home and look over. Most treatment centers and cancer hosptials will have a WALL or resource center for patients so if yours doesn't travel to a near by center and pick up some pamphletes to help give you a better understanding. Plus side you can look through the material at your own leasure and not feel rushed.
This is a great link that is very informative, and has an action plan for your first appt.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
Write down your medical history, including other conditions with which you've been diagnosed.
Note any personal history that increased your risk of sexually transmitted infection, such as early sexual activity, multiple partners or unprotected sex.
Make a list of your medications. Include any prescription or over-the-counter medications you're taking, as well as all vitamins, supplements and herbal remedies.
Write down questions to ask your doctor. Creating your list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor can include:
Do I have cervical cancer?
Has my cancer spread?
What treatment approach do you recommend?
What are the possible side effects or complications of this treatment?
Am I at risk of this condition recurring?
How often will I need follow-up visits after I finish treatment?
Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over any points you want to talk about in-depth. Your doctor may ask:
What are your symptoms?
When did you first notice these symptoms?
Have your symptoms changed over time?
Have you had regular Pap tests since you became sexually active?
Have you ever had abnormal Pap test results in the past?
Have you ever been treated for a cervical condition in the past?
Have you been diagnosed with any sexually transmitted infections?
Have you been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
Have you ever taken medications that suppress your immune system?
Do you or did you smoke? How much?
Do you want to have children in the future?
Expect to be nervous, scared and apprehensive - expect to be overwhelmed with information so it is extremely important to have someone with you to hear all the little details that may be floating over your head. Expect the Oncologist to be honest and straightforward with you. After laying out a "battle plan" with your Oncologist, expect to feel relieved, supported, stronger, positive and ready to do battle against this evil enemy. These people will become your family in the cancer world. Please let us know how it goes. Good Luck!
My first visit included a lot of overview of my health history, then an overview of the type of cancer (complete with a lovely diagram of lady parts my gyn onc drew!). :) Definitely be prepared for a pelvic exam and possible biopsy, even if your gyno performed one...might help to have pads handy in case of discharge / bleeding afterward. My onc wouldn't give an official "stage" until after a PET scan, but she had a good idea after the pelvic exam and had a couple of treatment options ready to talk about.
Also, just in case they don't bring it up and making huge assumptions about where you are in life (sorry!), please make sure they talk about fertility options, just so you have all the facts. It's so easy to focus on ridding our bodies of the cancer NOW, but a lot of treatments will affect the reproductive organs and not every doctor is prepared or wants to broach that subject, surprisingly. My gyn onc referred us to a fertility specialist straight away, and even though we decided not to harvest / freeze my eggs, I was so thankful for that information right up front.
Good luck and hugs to you!!
Thank you all so very much. This is a very stressful time of first finding out I have cancer and the next is the waiting period of not knowing what is next. Yesterday I also found out that I have to go back and have some more images done on my mammogram. I am going to do this prior to my visit to the gyn/oncologist appointment so I am hoping I do not have to have two battles at the same time. I am normally a very patient individual but I am defintely feel very impatient and frustrated how long it takes to get results back. I appreciate all the answers each of you provided. My first appt is this Thursday and my mom is going with me. I really like the idea of having my mom and myself keep seperate notes to compare later. I will defintely use and refer to the sites about what questions to ask and will be taking a notebook.
God bless each of you and you are also in my prayers!!