Your First Appointment
Welcome to Moffitt Cancer Center. You've made your first appointment, but may not be sure what to expect. We want to help you prepare with the following information for your first visit:
- What to Provide Before or Bring to Your Appointment
- What to Expect
- What to Ask
- Preparing for Your Hospitalization
- Patient and Family Orientation
- Patient Rights & Responsibilities
- Notice of Privacy Practices (pdf)
- Revocation of Health Information Exchange Opt-in Consent (pdf)
- Download the Patient Guide (pdf)
- Information on Nonopioid Alternatives for the Treatment of Pain
- Patient Portal
What to Provide Before Your Appointment or Bring to Your Appointment
- Patients can fill out and sign the electronic patient questionnaire, complete registration documents and review additional important materials online prior to arriving to their first appointment through the First Appointment To-Do List. There you will learn everything you need to know about your initial appointment. Log in to the patient portal to find the First Appointment To-Do List.
- Identification cards — Bring a photo ID, all health insurance identification cards (including secondary insurance and supplemental policies) and your outpatient prescription benefit card. Your insurance plan may require a referral or authorization prior to any service. If we are unable to obtain the referral or authorization prior to your scheduled appointment, you will be financially responsible. *Please read frequently asked questions about insurance prior to your first appointment.
- Billing information - At Moffitt Cancer Center all services are billed as an outpatient hospital and may result in a higher out-of-pocket expense. You may ask for an estimate before your appointment by contacting our financial counselors at 813-745-8422 or email email@example.com.
- Medical records — It is important we receive your medical records and radiology images prior to your first appointment. Please email, fax or drop-off copies of your medical records before coming to your first appointment so we have time to review them.
- Pathology slides and written reports — If you've already been diagnosed with cancer, you have had a biopsy or tissue specimen taken and reviewed by a pathologist. Moffitt has determined a second interpretation and confirmation of pathology is required. Moffitt will request your pathology slides from the facility where your biopsy was performed. Please note that you will be charged for the second review of your pathology. Contact your Clinic Coordination Assistant if you have any questions.
- Medications — A current list of all medications you take, including dosages, or bring all of the bottles with you. Include all over-the-counter medications such as vitamins or supplements. Report any allergies to medications, foods or anything else that causes a reaction (like tape or iodine). Also mention what type of reaction you have such as a rash, shortness of breath, swelling of the lips and tongue, etc.
Download the medication and allergy form (pdf)
- Referring physician follow-up — Addresses and phone numbers of your primary care and referring physicians.
What to Expect
- Your primary Moffitt oncologist or Moffitt surgeon will review your materials, conduct your examination, and have a discussion with you and your family or significant other. At this point, he or she may make preliminary treatment or diagnostic recommendations.
- Your oncologist or surgeon will discuss your individual treatment needs with other members of your team and explain to you any changes in the recommendations for your care.
- You might be asked to see additional oncology specialists or undergo additional tests. If surgery is needed, you will be given specific details on any preoperative testing. Prior to surgery, you and your family will have the opportunity to meet your surgeon (if you have not already met) to discuss the planned procedure.
- For CT Scans - Many patients will now be able to drink water instead of an oral contrast before getting a scan. Learn more about how to prepare for your CT scan.
- You may be asked to undergo genetic testing. Genetic testing is a useful tool for identifying mutations or changes in your DNA from your blood or relevant cancer tissue. The results of the genetic tests might be used to guide medical treatments or decisions. A genetic expert can help by providing information about the test.
What to Ask
As you cope with cancer and cancer treatment, you need to have honest, open talks with your doctor. You should feel free to ask any question that's on your mind, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some suggested questions you may want to ask.
- Would you please write down the exact kind of cancer I have?
- What treatment options are there?
- What do you recommend? Why?
- What is the goal of this treatment?
- What are the risks or side effects that I should expect?
- Will I be able to have children after my treatment?
- Will I lose my hair? If so, what can I do about it?
- What are the chances my cancer will come back with the treatment we have discussed?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- Should I follow a special diet?
- What are my chances of survival, based on my cancer as you see it?
Source: American Cancer Society
For Your Safety
Moffitt encourages patients to partner with your healthcare providers to prevent healthcare errors.
- Review your identification armband to ensure the information is correct. Inform a staff member if an error needs to be corrected. Be sure your healthcare professionals check your armband before drawing blood, giving medications or performing procedures.
- Make sure anyone caring for you is wearing a Moffitt badge you can clearly read.
- Moffitt requires all caregivers and staff to wash their hands with soap and water or a waterless alcohol hand gel before and after interacting with each patient. This simple act is extremely effective at reducing the spread of infection.
- Illness and treatment might cause you to feel weaker and more tired than usual, which could increase your risk for a fall. Let your healthcare team know if you have had any recent falls or if you feel unsteady or dizzy so we can properly help you move about safely.