Your First Appointment
Welcome to Moffitt Cancer Center. You've made your first appointment, but may not be sure what to expect. We want to help you prepare with the following information for your first visit.
- What to Expect
- What to Ask
- What to Bring
- Preparing for Your Hospitalization
- Patient and Family Orientation
- Patient Rights & Responsibilities
- Download the Welcome Book (pdf)
- Patient Portal
What to Expect
1. Your primary Moffitt oncologist or Moffitt surgeon will review your materials, conduct your examination, and have a discussion with you and your family or significant other. At this point, he or she may make preliminary treatment or diagnostic recommendations.
2. Your oncologist or surgeon will discuss your individual treatment needs with other members of your team and explain to you any changes in the recommendations for your care.
3. You might be asked to see additional oncology specialists or undergo additional tests. If surgery is needed, you will be given specific details on any preoperative testing. Prior to surgery, you and your family will have the opportunity to meet your surgeon (if you have not already met) to discuss the planned procedure.
What to Ask
As you cope with cancer and cancer treatment, you need to have honest, open talks with your doctor. You should feel free to ask any question that's on your mind, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some suggested questions you may want to ask.
- Would you please write down the exact kind of cancer I have?
- What treatment options are there?
- What do you recommend? Why?
- What is the goal of this treatment?
- What are the risks or side effects that I should expect?
- Will I be able to have children after my treatment?
- Will I lose my hair? If so, what can I do about it?
- What are the chances my cancer will come back with the treatment we have discussed?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- Should I follow a special diet?
- What are my chances of survival, based on my cancer as you see it?
Source: American Cancer Society
What to Bring
Your scheduling or clinical coordinator may ask you to bring the following items.
- Preauthorization form and ID cards — A photo ID, health insurance identification cards, outpatient prescription benefit cards and preauthorization number and form. Please note, your insurance plan may require a referral or authorization prior to any service. If we are unable to obtain the referral or authorization prior to your scheduled appointment, you will be financially responsible.
- Your medical records — It is important we receive your medical records and radiology images prior to your first appointment.
- Pathology slides and written reports — If you’ve already been diagnosed with cancer, a pathologist has reviewed a biopsy or tumor specimen under a microscope. Moffitt must confirm this diagnosis. Bring the actual glass slides, as well as the written report from the pathologist. These can be obtained from the medical facility where your biopsy was performed. Please note charges will be assessed for review of pathology slides.
- Medications — A current list of all medications you take, including dosages, or bring all of the bottles with you. Include all over-the-counter medications such as vitamins or supplements. Report any allergies to medications, foods or anything else that causes a reaction (like tape or iodine) to your health care team. Also mention what type of reaction you have such as a rash, shortness of breath, swelling of the lips and tongue, etc. <<See our medication and allergy form (pdf)
- Referring physician follow-up — Addresses and phone numbers of your primary care and referring physicians.
For Your Safety
Moffitt encourages patients to partner with your health care providers to prevent health care errors.
- Review your identification armband to ensure the information is correct. Inform a staff member if an error needs to be corrected. Be sure your health care professionals check your armband before drawing blood, giving medications or performing procedures.
- Make sure anyone caring for you is wearing a Moffitt badge you can clearly read.
- Moffitt requires all caregivers and staff to wash their hands with soap and water or a waterless alcohol hand gel before and after interacting with each patient. This simple act is extremely effective at reducing the spread of infection.
- Illness and treatment might cause you to feel weaker and more tired than usual, which could increase your risk for a fall. Let your health care team know if you have had any recent falls or if you feel unsteady or dizzy so we can properly help you move about safely.