Before Your First Visit

You can make sure you have the best care experience by being an active member of your health care team. Being involved means being prepared and asking questions. Our physicians and nurses expect this. Asking questions about your diagnosis, treatments, and medicines can improve the quality, safety, and effectiveness of your healthcare.

Taking steps before your appointment will help you to make the most of your time with your care team. We will need to have certain medical information that only you can provide.

Medical Records

If we don’t already have them, please make sure to bring all pertinent health care records to your appointment. It is our standard operational process to gather this information before your arrival, so that the doctors may review it ahead of time, but there are times we may ask you to bring copies of your medical records and/or lab results or a disk of your diagnostic images with you.

List of Medications

We will want to know about all of the medications you are currently taking, including vitamins and minerals, herbal or natural substances, and other over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers or allergy pills.

Preferred Pharmacy

It is important that you let us know if there is a pharmacy with which you currently have a relationship. Please provide us with the name, address and telephone number of that pharmacy during your initial visit.

List of Allergies

It is important for us to know if you have any allergies. These can include an allergy to latex, iodine or seafood.

List of Physicians

We will need the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any doctors you have seen in the last year. It is our standard operational practice to inform these physicians of your health care status. If you would prefer to exclude any of these physicians from receiving status reports, please let your Roswell Park physician know.

Pathology Reports

Because a diagnosis of cancer can be a complex diagnosis, our pathologists have expertise in various types of cancers. This sub-specialization allows us to better target the care we can provide to you. Of the second opinions Roswell Park’s Pathology experts provide for cases from outside of Roswell Park, about 10 percent involve a change of diagnosis. Therefore, we may want to run additional tests or in some instances, redo your blood results.

Lab Test Results

Lab test results may be positive, negative, or inconclusive. Your doctor will discuss what your test results mean for you during your visit.

Diagnostic Radiology

The clinical imaging tools used at Roswell Park Cancer Institute to take images or pictures of tumors and cancer cells has advanced so much that physicians can detect cancers earlier and more precisely. During your visit, your physician may want his Roswell Park colleagues to take additional images to assist him in making a more knowledgeable decision based on your type of cancer. 

Appoint a Health Care Proxy

This is the best way to make certain you receive the medical care and treatment you want when you can no longer speak for yourself. You name someone you trust to make health care decisions for you. This person is called a health care proxy. To appoint a health care proxy, you should plan ahead while you still have the ability to make informed health care decisions. You can do this by completing a health care proxy form while you are at Roswell Park.