Preparing for your First Appointment

Gastrointestinal Oncology UCSF

Your doctor will need to review any tests, procedures, or treatments that you have had.

Please bring the following to your first appointment:

  • Pathology Slides from Any Biopsies or Surgical Procedures
    These are glass slides that contain tissue samples from the tumor(s).

    To obtain slides:

    • First, call the doctor and ask who has the slides. They may be at a hospital or a lab.
    • When you call the hospital or lab, ask for the slides and a copy of the written report.
    • If you had more than one biopsy or surgery, please be sure to get the slides and reports for each of these procedures.
    • If you need help, call the doctor who performed the biopsy or surgery. He or she may be able to get the slides for you.
    • In some cases, your doctor may ask that you send in the slides before your first appointment.
  • Radiology Tests
    These are tests taken to produce images of the tumor(s). The images may be on disc or on film. Examples include x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, PET scans, and bone scans.

    To obtain radiology tests:

    • Call the hospital or radiology center where the images were taken.
    • Ask if the images are available on disc and if the Dicom format was used. If Dicom was used, ask for a disc that contains all the images that were taken. If Dicom was not used or the images are not available on disc, then ask for the actual films.
    • Also ask for copies of the written reports for each test.
    • If you need help, call the doctor who ordered the tests. He or she may be able to get these images for you.
  • Medical Summary
    This is a description written by your doctor detailing your medical problems and the treatment you have received.

    Please get medical summaries from your doctor(s) if:

    • You have started cancer treatment before coming to UC San Francisco. Call the doctor who treated you and ask for a written summary or a copy of your records.
    • You are seeing a radiation oncologist and have ever received radiation therapy. Call the doctor who ordered the therapy and ask for copies of the simulation or port films.
    • You have ever seen a cardiologist or other doctor for a heart problem. In addition to the summary, ask for results from all recent tests you have had, including, for example, a stress test and echocardiogram.
  • Your Medication
    Please be sure to bring the bottles of all medications you take, including those prescribed by doctors and those you buy over the counter. This should include bottles of any vitamins or herbal products you take.

    The bottles should indicate the following information:

    • the name of each medicine
    • the dose you take
    • how often you take it
  • Insurance Card
    We will need the name of your health insurance company, along with other information that appears on your health insurance card. In addition, please bring a photo ID. If you are covered by more than one insurer, please bring both cards.

Other Ways to Prepare for Your Appointment Include

  • Writing down any questions you may think of before your first visit. Bring these with you.
  • Bringing paper and pencil so you can take notes during your appointment.
  • Arranging for a friend or family member to come with you. You will receive a lot of information that day. It is helpful to have someone else with you to listen and take notes.