As a new Cancer Institute patient, you may have questions about your health care journey with us. The physicians, nurses, and auxiliary staff want to make sure you have all of the resources and information you need before, during, and after your treatment. You'll receive a copy at your first appointment, and your care team will review what's included. Click here to view the patient guide online.
What To Bring
A cancer diagnosis or suspicion of cancer is likely to be a time full of anxiety and questions. Many people find it useful and comforting to bring a family member or a close friend to their first appointment.
Additionally, there are several items you should bring with you:
- Questions for your doctor. Many people find it useful to prepare a list of questions before their first visit.
- Medical Records about your current case
- Medical Images (X-Rays, Cat-scans, MRIs, etc.). You may need to request these from where you received the imaging services. They may give you these as either a printed "film" or on a computer CD.
- Pathology Slides. These are the actual slides that were made from a biopsy. If you have these, please bring them with you. Otherwise, the clinic staff will work with you to obtain these from your previous doctor.
- Your insurance card
- Your identification (e.g. driver's license)
- Payment (this will vary by insurance)
What to Expect
Your first visit with your physician is likely to be different than other doctors' visits that you've had. Compared to a visit to a family physician, the cancer doctor is likely to spend more time with you and ask you more questions about your health and the health history of your family members.
In the clinic, you may be asked to give blood. You may be scheduled for diagnostic tests such as a CT, an MRI or other kinds of imaging. You may also be scheduled to visit other types of physicians who work with your main physician to ensure that you receive the best care.
A nurse coordinator will be assigned to you. The nurse coordinator assigned to you has specific expertise with your specific disease. Your nurse coordinator will be the connection between you and your doctor. Your nurse coordinator should be the first person you call with non-emergency medical issues.
View some of our videos with breast cancer and colorectal cancer specialists at Penn State Cancer Institute to discuss the importance of early detection and screening, how family history may determine your risk, the latest treatments, and ways you can help to prevent this disease. Patients and families in our community beat this highly preventable -and often curable - disease.