What to Expect During Your First Appointment

Before your first appointment

  • Please plan on 2 to 4 hours for your first appointment. 
  • Review this information and prepare your questions. You’ll find a checklist for what you need to do and bring to your visit.
  • We make every attempt to collect your medical records before your first appointment so that the care team can review them ahead of time. If we cannot obtain them in time, we may need to reschedule your appointment.
  • If you need to cancel or change your appointment, please call us at least 24 hours in advance:
  •     Cancer Center, Palo Alto: 650-498-6000

On the day of your appointment

  • Plan to arrive at least 90 minutes before your appointment time.
  • If you need assistance when you arrive, please stop at the reception desk in the lobby of each building. Our navigators will be happy to escort you to the clinic.

Your first appointment: Meeting your care team

At your first appointment, you will meet the team who will take care of you throughout your treatment. Your care team will include 4 primary members:

  • Your doctor, who may be a surgeon, medical oncologist, or radiation oncologist, depending on the type of treatment you will receive
  • Advanced practice provider (APP), who works with your doctor during diagnostic evaluation and treatment
  • Multidisciplinary care coordinator (MCC), your main point of contact throughout your course of treatment
  • Clinical administrative assistant (CAA), who helps with scheduling your appointments and managing your paperwork

You may have other doctors and care providers on your team, depending on the type of treatment you receive. You may not meet them at your first visit, however.

What to expect during your first appointment

During this visit, your doctor will discuss your medical history with you in detail, perform a physical examination, and discuss possible treatment options. Your doctor may send you for laboratory tests during your first appointment. You will not need to fast prior to the lab tests, unless your doctor notifies you otherwise. You may also need to have additional imaging done.

During your first visit, we will share some important information about your condition and your treatment options.

To help you remember everything we discuss, please bring a family member or friend. You may want to write down your questions so you can raise them with your doctors.

Please be prepared to take notes during your appointment.

Collecting your medical records

We collect your medical records before your appointment, so that you have one less thing to worry about. We need to review your medical history so our doctors can better understand your current health, symptoms, and any previous tests or treatments. We will contact all non-Stanford hospitals, clinics, and imaging centers to ask for your records, including pathology slides, scans such as X-rays, and other reports.

If we are unable to obtain the appropriate records in time for your first appointment, we may ask you to help us obtain them. We also may need to reschedule your appointment until we obtain them. Depending on the facility, we may need you to sign and submit record release forms. Our goal is for you to have a productive first appointment with your doctor.

Stanford Health Library

For confidential help with your health care questions, contact the Stanford Health Library. Professional medical librarians and trained volunteers can help you access journals, books, e-books, databases, and videos to learn more about medical conditions, treatment options, and related issues.

  • 875 Blake Wilbur Drive, Palo Alto: First floor near the cafe, 650-736-1960
  • South Bay Cancer Center: 2589 Samaritan Drive, third floor lobby, 408-353-0197

Email us your questions: healthlibrary@stanfordhealthcare.org                                

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