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Preparing for Your First Appointment

  • young adult patient

    Whether preparing for your own appointment, or assisting a child or adult loved one to prepare, here are some general tips to help your first appointment go smoothly.

    Review your patient packet. Before 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. For adult patients, this will include a Checklist that we recommend that you review and complete before your first appointment.
    Obtain approval from your insurance company. If the patient’s 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.