Your First Visit To The Cancer Centre
When you arrive at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre or Saskatoon Cancer Centre, an admitting clerk will ask you some basic questions:
- Date of birth
- Family doctor's name
- Saskatchewan Health Services card number
- Other health insurance coverage
- Contact information
- Treaty number, if applicable
- Health care directive (living will)
You should arrive 30 minutes before your appointment to answer these questions. On later visits, please let us know if this information has changed.
Your first visit to the cancer centre may take 1-2 hours. When you meet the oncologist, he or she will examine you and discuss your treatment options. You may also have some tests such as blood, urine or X-rays. This visit is a consultation or discussion visit. You will not usually receive any treatment on your first visit. The cancer centre is an outpatient treatment centre, which means that patients do not stay overnight. For some treatments, you may be admitted to a hospital in Regina or Saskatoon.
What to bring
- A list of the medicines you are taking at home. This includes Tylenol, vitamins, dietary supplements (Boost, Ensure) and any herbal preparations or traditional medicines and treatments from other cultures.
- Your Saskatchewan health card. If you have private health insurance, please bring that information as well.
- A list of list of things you are allergic to, including medications and foods.
- X-ray films. You may be asked to bring X-rays from your home hospital. Be sure to pick these up a day or two before you come for your appointment.
- A list of any questions you have. Feel free to ask a lot of questions. Bring a pen and some paper to jot down the answers. You may want to use the question sheet provided in this website.
- A friend or relative. He or she can help you remember things you have been told or hear something you might have missed.
- Things to help you pass the time, such as books, crosswords, magazines, audiotapes or knitting. The cancer centres offer free wi-fi.
Questions to ask your doctor
- How does chemotherapy work to kill the cancer? If I'm having chemotherapy what are my choices? How long will it last and what are the long-term and short-term side effects? Will the benefits outweigh the sickness?
- How does radiation work to kill the cancer? Will radiation therapy damage my skin? What are the long-term and short-term side effects?
- How often will I need to be examined after treatment? What tests will I have and what will they tell me? How do we evaluate treatment success or failure?
- What is the stage of my disease and what does that mean in regard to my prognosis?
- When will I be sure that my cancer will not come back?
- Is there a chance that I may die from this disease?
- Is there any benefit to a second opinion?
- Can I benefit from an investigational therapy somewhere else?
Other helpful information
- You will be asked for your name and date of birth each time someone is involved in your care, at each visit to the cancer centre. This is to ensure we are providing the right service to the right person.
- Please do not wear scented products like perfume, aftershave, hair spray or lotions.
- If you have waited more than half an hour past your appointment time, check with the receptionist, but please be patient. Staff do their best to keep appointments on time, but some delays cannot be helped.
- The cancer centres are non-smoking facilities.
- Try not to cancel your first visit. It is an important one. It can be difficult to schedule another time. If you must cancel your appointment, please call the cancer centre as much in advance as possible. To cancel an appointment call:
Allan Blair Cancer Centre: (306) 766-2213
Saskatoon Cancer Centre: (306) 655-2662
After your first visit
Your cancer doctor and nurse will give you information to take home with you to read and share with others. They will also give you a phone number to call if you have any questions after you leave the cancer centre.
You may wish to keep a journal or notebook of all your tests, procedures or treatments. You may be given an appointment to come back for more discussion or for treatment.
If you are having chemotherapy, it might be possible for you to have your treatment at your local hospital through the Community Oncology Program of Saskatchewan. If so, your cancer doctor and nurse will work with your local hospital team to monitor your treatment. Your cancer doctor will send a letter to your family doctor after each visit.