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Your Patient Journey

We’re here to help.

Your health and comfort are very important to us. We have a well-trained staff available to meet your needs and to help you with any problems, questions, or concerns that you might have about your illness and care.


Preparing for your first visit

Your first visit is for consultation and planning. 

You will meet some members of your team of healthcare professionals. They will learn about you and, with you, make plans for your care. It is very unlikely you will receive any treatment on your first visit. 

At the end of your first visit, you will likely have some plans in place, either for further testing, treatment or other follow-up.

You may receive a telephone call before your first visit asking for information that will help us register you. If you do not receive a call, don't worry, we will talk to you at the time of your appointment.

What to bring

Please bring the following items with you:

  • your personal healthcare card 
  • all your medications, so that the doctor may review them with you 
  • the names and telephone numbers (work and home) of two contact people 
  • your health history and any allergies that you may have 
  • any x-rays that you may have been given 
  • any questions you may have (we suggest writing these down) 
  • a friend or family member

Planning your time, food & support

For your first visit, you will be in the clinic for at least two or three hours. 

Because of the length of your visit, we suggest you have a meal before checking in (unless you've been instructed otherwise) or bring a meal or snack with you. There is a cafeteria in BC Cancer – Vancouver. 

You may find it helpful to bring someone with you for company; your friend or family member can remain with you during your visit with the doctors and other members of the healthcare team. Having someone with you is a great way to remember what was said.  

If you need an interpreter, please contact Interpreter Services.

New patients form

You may be asked to complete a Patient Reported Information and Symptom Management (PRISM) form before you arrive for your first appointment. We encourage you to print the PRISM form and complete it at your leisure before you come to BC Cancer – Vancouver.

We are a scent-free environment, so please don’t wear perfume or scented products. All cell phones may be left on but on vibrate mode only.

Your first visit

During your first visit 

Checking in

On your first day, check in at Admitting on Floor 1. After you are admitted, on other visits you can go directly to where your appointment is scheduled. Most patients check in on Floor 2 for doctor appointments, and Floor 3 for lab tests and diagnostic imaging.

New patients form

You will be greeted by a unit clerk at the reception desk. 

They will hand you a new patient brochure, which contains important information about BC Cancer – Vancouver, services and contact information. 

They will also give you the Patient Reported Information and Symptom Management (PRISM) form which will take around 15 to 30 minutes to fill in. If you have completed the form in advance of your visit, you will not need to complete it a second time. Just advise the unit clerk that your form is completed (please however, collect the new patient brochure). 

You will then be directed to one of the clinics for your appointment with your oncologist. 

Meeting your care team

You will meet physicians and oncology nurses in the Ambulatory Care Unit on the second floor. 

The first person you will meet is the nurse who will explain to you how your time will be spent during your first visit to BC Cancer – Vancouver. You will also be assisted by volunteers who are there to help and support you, and answer any questions you may have.

Your medical history & physical examination

Your medical history will be discussed and a physical examination will be carried out. 

When the examination is finished an oncologist (a cancer specialist) will review this information along with your reports and records. The oncologist will then sit down with you and your family members to talk about treatment choices and the plan for your ongoing care. 

The oncologist may arrange for blood tests, x-rays or scans. You may have to wait for the results of these tests before the best treatment can be designed for you. Treatment does not usually start on the day of your first visit.


Follow-up appointments

At the end of your first visit you will be given your next appointment to return to BC Cancer – Vancouver. Sometimes, no further appointment is required and you may be referred to your family physician.

Appointment card

You will be provided with an appointment card if we are expecting you to return. This will include your primary oncologist's phone number, as well as the number to call to change appointments. It will also be the place where any upcoming appointments are recorded. You should carry this card with you whenever you return to BC Cancer – Vancouver. 

If you phone in, you will be asked for your chart number; having this number available speeds up your service.

Your referring physician will set up a New Patient appointment for you at BC Cancer – Vancouver and will be notified of the time and date of your appointment.

Beginning treatment

There will usually be a delay of a few weeks between the time of your referral and your appointment, as we need to assess your situation and make sure that you are seen in the appropriate clinic.

Treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • chemotherapy
  • hormone therapy
  • radiation therapy
  • surgery

Your family doctor and referring specialist will be sent information regarding your progress.

Changes in contact info

Please tell the check-in clerk or call Transcription Services at 604-877-6000 ext. 2349 about changes in your address, phone number or family physician.

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SOURCE: Your Patient Journey ( )
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