This is your first visit to the oncology department, welcome. This is where you will first meet the team who will be looking after you. If you want to know who we are, and what we do, then click on the clinician in the picture.
We are well aware that your first visit to the department may be quite intimidating. You will probably already have been told that you have cancer and that you need to see a specialist who will explain what needs to be done. You may have all sorts of concerns about treatments and side effects. You will probably have had all sorts of conflicting advice from well-meaning relatives and friends. This may have left you feeling confused and more than a little frightened. We will be doing our best to help you through this difficult time. Remember, we work as a team and you are the most important member of that team.
It is a good idea to bring a supportive relative or friend to your first visit. Two heads are better than one, and there is likely to be an awful lot for you to take on board and remember. It is also a good idea to jot down on a piece of paper any questions that concern you, before coming to clinic. When you see the doctor you may be too flustered to remember what you wanted to ask - having a written note can help jog your memory.
Remember that we are here to help. We want to make sure that any decisions that are made are made the way you want them to be made. We want you to be given as much information as you feel you need to help you in making your decisions.
The doctor you see will be an oncologist (a cancer specialist), either a consultant or a specialist registrar (trainee cancer specialist). The doctor will know about your problem and will already have looked at your case notes and the results of any tests you may have had. The doctor will want to check some details with you and, almost certainly, will want to examine you. They will also be interested to hear your views: what you have been told, and what your feelings and priorities are.
As a result of this first assessment and discussion, your doctor may be able to make some recommendations about further treatment. Sometimes some further tests are needed. This is not because of any doubts about the diagnosis but because, in order for treatment to be effective, we need to be able to map out the precise extent of the tumour: a process known, in the jargon, as "staging".