Before you leave for your appointment, review the checklist below to make sure you come prepared.
Wear comfortable clothes and bring:
- $1 and $2 coins for the parking garage. Parking rates at the KW Site (at 835 King Street West in Kitchener) are $2 per half hour, with a daily maximum of $10 for our parking garage. You may be at the centre for more than two hours on your first visit;
- Someone to wait with you and support you during your visit;
- Your patient orientation resource guide;
- Your Ontario health card;
- The name, address and phone number of your family doctor;
- If you have a drug benefit plan, please bring your card with you;
- The current medications you are taking in their original containers;
- Any vitamins, minerals, herbal supplements you are taking, in their original containers;
- A list of your allergies and sensitivities;
- A notebook and pen to record information;
- A list of questions you may have for the doctor or nurse;
- A drink and/or snack from home. Or you may choose to purchase a snack from the cafeteria or Tim Hortons, both conveniently located on the main level of the Grand River Hospital; and
- Something to help you pass the time while you wait (a book, knitting, etc.).
Arriving at the Grand River Regional Cancer Centre
At your first visit you will need to register at the main registration desk in the main lobby of the cancer centre. After you have registered, a volunteer will guide you to your clinic appointment where you will wait until the doctor is ready to see you. At each subsequent visit you must check in at main registration desk.
Meeting the oncologist and supportive care coordinator
When it is your turn to see the doctor, you will be called into an examination room. We encourage you to bring a family member or a friend to support you during your appointment. It is at this time you will meet your oncologist and your supportive care coordinator. You will likely be examined and then they will talk to you about your treatment options.
It may be possible for you to reach a decision about your treatment plan at this visit, or you and the oncologist may need more time to decide on the best treatment plan for you. We want to make sure that you have a clear understanding of your diagnosis and the recommended treatment plan. Once a plan is created, you will be asked to sign a verification of treatment form, also known as a consent form. This form verifies that you understand the treatment risks, benefits, and alternatives, and that you agree to have the treatment. You may withdraw your consent for treatment at any time if you change your mind.
Sample questions to ask at your first appointment
It is helpful to bring a list of questions to discuss with your oncologist on the day of your first appointment.
Questions to ask before treatment begins:
- What is my diagnosis?
- Is there any evidence the cancer has spread?
- What are my treatment choices? Which do you recommend for me? Why?
- What are the expected benefits of each treatment?
- What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment?
- Will I have to change my normal activities? If so, for how long?
- What can I do to prepare for treatment?
- How often will I have treatments?
- How long will my treatments last?
- Is there a cost to the treatment?
- Can I still engage in sexual activity?
- Is infertility a side effect of cancer treatment? If so, can anything be done about it?
Please note: You will have many opportunities to ask the oncologist and supportive care coordinator to explain things to you and to get more information. Answers to questions like these can also be found in My CARE Source, under the frequently-asked questions (FAQ) section.
Why am I being sent to the cancer centre?
You have likely been referred to the cancer centre because your doctor wants you to receive further investigation, treatment or support from specialists who work at the cancer centre.
What happens when my doctor sends me to the cancer centre?
The doctor who has referred you to the cancer centre will send a copy of your medical information, including copies of your x-rays and blood work. Once this information has been received, your referral can be processed and an appointment will be booked for you.
What kind of treatment will I receive?
An individual plan of care will be developed during your initial consult with your oncologist.
Will my other doctor(s) know what is happening to me?
Information about your visit is sent to your doctor(s) after each visit. Your family doctor is an important part of your team and will still be responsible for general medical care.
Who will I meet?
You will meet the members of your supportive care team at the cancer centre. Your team is dedicated to providing you with the very best care available.