Once you have scheduled your first appointment, a nurse will call you to answer questions and help you prepare for your appointment.
Before you arrive for your first visit, you will have a letter and/or packet of information from your new patient coordinator, explaining where to go and what to bring. Please read this information carefully.
In addition, here are some general tips to help your first appointment go smoothly.
Obtain approval from your insurance company. If your visit will be paid for by health insurance, you may need approval ahead of time. Please contact your insurance company to make sure any necessary documents are in place. If you do not have insurance or have questions, please call our financial counselors at 617-632-3455.
Gather any necessary items. Many patients are surprised by the amount of preparation needed for the first appointment. Cancer is a complex illness, and every case is different; it's important for us to have as much information about your case as possible.
In some cases, you will be asked to bring pathology slides, medical records, or radiology films to your first appointment. In other cases, you will be asked to send them in advance.
Fill out paperwork ahead of time. You may have received several documents to fill out, such as a medication list, patient history form, or questionnaire about your illness. Be sure to complete them and bring them with you.
Know where you’re going. Review maps and directions so you will feel confident about your journey, especially if your destination is unfamiliar. You can find information about places to eat, places to stay, driving directions and parking details in our Planning a Visit section.
Think about the questions you want to ask. Some people want to know everything about their diagnosis, while others just want to know the basic facts. Read tips for talking with your doctor about your treatment.
Please make sure you have with you the items listed in your packet, which may include radiology films, your patient health history form, and insurance cards. You might also like to bring along a book, magazine, or laptop to help pass the time while waiting. Dana-Farber has wireless internet access, and patients may also borrow an iPad for several hours.
If your appointment is at the Longwood campus, come to Dana-Farber's main entrance at 450 Brookline Avenue. Please use the Dana-Farber on-site parking garage, under Dana-Farber's Yawkey Center for Cancer Care. You can enter the garage from Jimmy Fund Way. Once you are inside the Yawkey Center, please proceed to Central Registration on the second floor. At the satellite centers, please check in at the registration desk.
No matter where you are being seen, please plan to check in at least 30 minutes before your appointment time.
You will receive a privacy notice, a patient identification card, and a handbook outlining all the services available to you as a patient. You will also be asked to sign several forms.
You should plan to spend two to three hours for your first visit.
If you have general questions about Dana-Farber resources at the Longwood campus, such as how to find a support group or where to get a cup of coffee, drop by the Concierge desk located in the lobby of the Yawkey Center for Cancer Care at 450 Brookline Avenue.
During your visit, you or a family member might like to visit the chapel, cafeteria, or resource centers.
On your first day, you will meet with the health care professionals involved in your care, who will review your medical records and health history and give you a physical examination. They will answer any questions and discuss treatment options, including the possibility of participating in clinical studies of innovative new treatments.
Your first appointment will be tailored to your specific medical needs, and you may be scheduled to see more than one physician.
Our specialists work as a team to evaluate and treat patients with all types of cancers and related diseases. Our goal is to provide an expert evaluation and the most advanced care possible.
Specialists may include:
Learn more about the roles of members of your care team
Here are some tips to guide your visits:
Once your appointment has ended, take a moment to recognize that this first step is over. Your next visit will feel much easier, because you’ll know your way, your care team will be familiar, and you’ll have a plan for moving forward.
On the Longwood and Faulkner campuses, your map and directions brochure provides directions from Dana-Farber to major highways. If you do not have this document or access to online directions and maps, please ask at the Concierge desk in the Yawkey Center, or at the reception desks at the satellite centers.
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