What to Expect at Your First Appointment (Besides an Incredible Amount of Support)
Often, when patients are scheduled to meet with a radiation oncologist for the first time, they are under the impression that they are starting treatment the very same day. Fact is there is much to be done in getting a patient ready for radiation therapy, which may involve collaboration with other physicians.
You will meet with Dr. Madsen, Dr. Hsi, Dr. Foxlee, or Dr. Sabolch, who will talk with you about your cancer diagnosis and the role that radiation therapy may have in your treatment. The physician may also perform a physical exam.
If it’s agreed that radiation therapy is the right treatment for you, we will work with you to start the treatment-planning process.
We refer to the first treatment-planning appointment as your “simulation”. Under the guidance of the radiation oncologist, the therapist will map out the area to be treated, which takes about an hour. Using this information, we prepare your treatment plan. Initially, you will be scheduled for a “dry run” and then a treatment schedule will be created that fits your needs.
In general, once radiation treatments begin, you will be treated daily, Monday through Friday, for a series of weeks. Most treatments take 15 to 30 minutes to complete. After you meet the radiation oncologist, you will know how many weeks it will take to deliver your treatments.
In Preparation for Your First Appointment:
Having accurate medical records is critical to your care. We will want to know your medical history and what treatments you have had to date. Prior to your appointment, Peninsula Cancer Center will obtain all of the necessary medical information for you including medical records, imaging, and pathology reports. We will request this information from your referring provider.
Medications | Vitamins | Supplements
Please also bring a list of current medications, vitamins, and supplements with dosages. Or, you may bring all of your medications with you to your first appointment.
Insurance and Other Forms
When we schedule your consultation appointment, we typically mail you the required forms to complete and bring to your first appointment (these forms are also provided on our website). If you are unable to complete your paperwork beforehand, please come 15 minutes early to your scheduled appointment. We will also need a copy of your driver’s license and insurance card(s).
Bring a Friend and Notebook
Many patients find it helpful to start a notebook so they can write down their questions and document the responses, as well as record their visits. We also encourage you to bring a family member or friend to your appointment. During this time in your life, you will likely feel overwhelmed and it’s important you know that it’s okay to ask others for help.