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Patient Journey

The cancer journey is not an easy road to travel without the support and guidance of your health care provider.

At BC Cancer – Abbotsford, while the main focus is on treating cancer, we also offer a wide variety of resources to help you and your loved ones cope during this difficult time. Click the tabs below for more information on what to expect during the patient journey and links to helpful resources.

Your first visit
Your first visit is for consultation and planning. You may receive a telephone call before your first visit asking for general information (i.e. general personal information, physician name) that will help us register you. If you do not receive a call, don't worry– we will get the information from you at the time of your visit.

What to expect

When you arrive, go to the Sumas Wing and report to the General Clinics located on Level 2. A clerk will give you a new patient brochure, which contains contact details and important information about BC Cancer services, and the Patient Reported Information and Symptom Measurement (PRISM) form.

The PRISM form takes around 15 to 30 minutes to complete. If you previously submitted a PRISM form, notify the clerk as you will not need to complete it a second time. Once submitted, you will then be directed to one of the clinics for your first visit with a cancer specialist.

During your first visit, you will meet members of your cancer care team. They will learn about you and, together, make plans for your care. It is very unlikely you will receive any treatment during this visit unless there are specific circumstances that call for it.

Your first visit will last about 2½ hours during which a physical examination will be conducted by a cancer specialist. This will be an opportunity to talk and ask questions to the specialist and your nurse. After the physical examination, the cancer specialist will talk to you about ongoing care.

At the end of your first visit, you will be provided with an appointment card, featuring your chart number and contact information, if we are expecting you to return. Any upcoming appointments will be recorded on this card. Please have it with you whenever you visit or contact us, as the chart number is used for identification; this will speed up your service.

If you need assistance, a volunteer or clerk will be available to escort you, and answer any questions you may have.

How to prepare
Please bring the following items with you to your first visit:

  • Your BC Services/BC Care Card
  • One piece of photo ID
  • A list of current medications (including pain medications, vitamins, supplements, herbal remedies, etc.)
  • Reading glasses, if you need them
  • The names and telephone numbers (work and home) of two contact people
  • Information on your health history and any allergies that you may have
  • X-rays or other diagnostic images that you may have been given
  • A list of questions to ask
  • A pen and notepad (optional)
We strongly encourage you to download, print and complete the Patient Reported Information and Symptom Measurement (PRISM) form before your first visit, then give your completed form to the clerk when checking in. If you aren't able to, don't worry– a clerk will give you one to complete after you check in.

For more information on how to prepare for a visit, download the Guidebook for Patients.

If you need further assistance, clerks are available to help and support you, and answer any questions you may have.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, if you need assistance communicating, bring an interpreter, ask a member of the health care team to request one on your behalf, or book on in advance by calling 604-851-4733 or toll-free (within BC) 1-877-547-3777. An interpreter may remain with you throughout your visit.


Yes, you may bring your cellular phone. While visiting BC Cancer – Abbotsford, cellular phones may be left on but in vibrate mode only. We ask patients and families not to use cell phones in the consultation or treatment areas.

Yes, you may bring someone with you for support. Having a family member or friend around is a great way to help you remember what was said. They may remain with you throughout your visit.

In consideration of those who have scent-related allergies, please do not wear scented products while visiting.

For more information on transportation assistance to and from cancer treatment appointments at BC Cancer – Abbotsford, visit Transportation & Lodging.

No, smoking is not permitted in the buildings or on the grounds of BC Cancer – Abbotsford.

Because of the length of your visit, we suggest you have a meal before coming, or a snack in the restaurant on Level 1 (unless otherwise instructed).
When you are receiving care at BC Cancer, our staff and physicians will collect personal information from you. Where permitted, BC Cancer will also collect information about you from other health care providers or health care organizations.

Collecting, using and sharing your personal information
Your information may be entered into our electronic health information systems to assist authorized persons in quickly accessing pertinent information wherever you may be receiving care or services. 

We collect, use and share your personal information under the primary authority of the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”). FIPPA and other legislations authorize us to use and share your personal information for these reasons:

  • to identify you and keep in contact with you about your health care
  • to provide ongoing care and support of care activities
  • to help us plan, monitor, maintain and improve our care and services,
  • for education and training (e.g. medical students) and to conduct research with consent or as permitted by law
  • to know your eligibility for benefits and services and to arrange medical services billing
  • to enable parties (e.g. Ministry of Health Services, Canadian Institute of Health Information) to confirm your identity, conduct planning and improvement activities, measure performance and fund healthcare 
  • to analyze, manage and control disease outbreaks and monitor the overall health of people 
  • as required by law (e.g. court order, reportable conditions) and as authorized by FIPPA
Your health information will be provided to your referring physician, other authorized health care professionals and their support staff, or health care agencies and facilities involved in your care to support continuous and consistent care and service. In some cases, these health professionals may look up your health information in our electronic health information systems in order to provide you with direct or supporting services.

You may request access to your health record by contacting the Release of Information Office in the cancer centre where you are receiving your treatment.

eHealth and your information
eHealth is a provincial initiative that allows certain aspects of your health information to be accessed by authorized health care professionals throughout the province and not just within a particular region. Each health authority sends specific health information to a province-wide electronic information system, where it is stored with strict protections and used for limited and authorized purposes. For more information about eHealth, please visit the government eHealth website.

The effects of dealing with cancer can present unique challenges to your body, mind, relationships and lifestyle. Our Coping with Cancer section has helpful information to assist you in your journey, covering a number of topics, including:

  • Nutrition support: available services, and commonly asked questions.
  • Practical support: financial assistance programs, healthcare coverage information, traveling for appointments, home care and supporting returning to work. For financial assistance information, view our “Financial Information for Cancer Patients” pamphlet and other resources here.
  • Emotional support: information about how to access counselling, support programs, deal with  your emotions and access to our children’s and teen's websites
  • Managing symptoms & side effects: information about what to look out for and how to manage them better
  • Palliative support: information about what to expect as cancer advances
  • Transportation & lodging: travel and lodging information for patients and their families

Additional resources

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