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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 – Victoria, 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

For questions related to guidelines for COVID-19, please visit our BC Cancer COVID-19 FAQ page.

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

During your first visit, expect your appointment to be at least two to three
hours. It can be quite overwhelming. Being informed and prepared can
help to make the process less overwhelming. The following suggestions
may be helpful:

  • Bring a family member or friend with you to help gather all of the new information, for company and for support.
  • Check the BC Cancer Website for up to date information on any COVID screening or restrictions
  • Have a meal before you come (unless otherwise instructed) and/or bring a snack with you.
  • Be involved in your care. Ask questions and take notes or ask a family member to assist.
  • It may be useful to start keeping a journal in order to keep track of contacts and appointment information.
  • A professional interpreter can be arranged for your appointment. Ask a member of your health care team to request one on your behalf or book in advance by calling the Provincial Language Service at 1.877.228.2557
Check in with the Reception Desk when you arrive. You will be asked to show your Care Card and photo ID. The receptionist will direct you to the waiting area where you will see your oncologist (a cancer specialist).

You will be asked to complete the Patient Reported Information and
Symptom Management (PRISM) form, if you haven’t already done so. The PRISM form takes around 15 to 30 minutes to complete. 

You will be seen by an oncologist and sometimes other members of your care team such as nurses. The oncologist will do a physical exam and discuss your health history. The oncologist will then talk about a treatment plan and an ongoing care plan with you and your family.

Your treatment plan is a joint decision between you and your oncologist.
You will be provided with information to help you decide which treatment
option is best for you. You typically do not need to make a decision about
your treatment options on your first day if you are not ready to make a
decision. You can go home to think about it further and discuss it with
family and friends.

The oncologist may arrange for blood tests, x-rays, and/or other medical
imaging studies. You may have to wait for these tests before the best
treatment can be designed for you. The role of the oncologist is to advise
you about your cancer based on all the information known.

If you have pain or other symptoms, your oncologist can help you and your
family doctor manage these or may refer you to the symptom management/
palliative care team, or other specialists.

At the end of your visit, you may be given an appointment card. This card will
contain your next appointment, your oncologist’s name and your BC Cancer
identification number. If you do not receive this card following your appointment, it will be mailed to you. Please have it with you whenever you visit or contact us. 

Your appointment card may state, “This is an in person appointment” or it may say, “The clinician will phone you.” The latter designates your appointment as a TELEPHONE APPOINTMENT and the physician will phone you at the scheduled time.  

Sometimes, no further appointment is needed at BC Cancer and you will be
referred to your family physician for follow up care.

For more information about what to expect during a first visit, download the Guidebook for Patients.
How to prepare

New patient checklist

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

  • Your BC Services/BC Care Card, and one piece of photo ID such as a
    driver’s license
  • All your prescription, non-prescription, herbal and alternative
    medications in their original containers so that the physician or
    pharmacist 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, CDs or DVDs that you may have been given by other
    physicians or hospitals
  • A list of questions you may have
  • Any Advance Care Plan directives or documents
  • A pen and notepad (optional)
  • Reading glasses, if you need them
  • Your Patient Reported Information and Symptom Measurement (PRISM) form (if you completed it at home)
We encourage you to download, print (double-sided) 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– you will be given you one to complete after you check in. 

We also encourage you to review our Guidebook for Patients before your first visit.
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:

Additional resources

Have questions about your cancer care or COVID-19?

Go to and type your question into the pop up BC Cancer Digital Agent. It’s a fast and easy way to get answers to your questions. If the digital agent can’t answer your question, it will connect you with a nurse who can help. Available on weekdays from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

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