During your first visit, you will be in the centre for at least two or three hours.
You may find it helpful to bring someone with you for company and support as this first visit can be overwhelming. Having a family member or close friend accompanying you at your appointment could help you to gather all of the new information.
If you require an interpreter at an appointment, let our admitting team know and they will make arrangements, if possible, for a professional interpreter.
Because of the length of your appointment, we suggest you have a meal before coming (unless otherwise instructed) and/or bring a snack with you.
Report to the Information and Admitting desk in the lobby of the main entrance. A clerk will assist you and may ask you to complete some documentation in a waiting area. If you were not pre-registered by phone, a clerk will help you complete your registration. If you require assistance, a volunteer will be available to escort you to your first appointment. This is also when you receive your BCCA # (BC Cancer Agency number).
You will be seen by oncology nurses and physicians in the Ambulatory Care Unit (ACU). You may also be assisted by volunteers who are there to help and support you.
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 to talk about treatment choices and the plan for your ongoing care.
The oncologist may arrange for blood tests, X-rays, and/or scans. You may have to wait for the results of these tests before the best treatment can be designed for you. The role of the oncologist is to advise you about your cancer.
If you have pain or other symptoms, your oncologist may help you and your family doctor manage these, or may refer you to the pain and symptom management team, or other specialists.
Asking questions and taking notes, or having a loved one assist you in this manner, is a great way to stay involved in your treatment plan. Being informed and prepared may help to make the process less overwhelming.
At the end of your visit you may be given your next appointment to return to the centre or it may be mailed to you.
Sometimes, no further appointment is required and you may be referred to your family physician.