Your first visit
Your first visit to the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre will typically be longer than subsequent appointments. Please be prepared for this visit to last approximately 2 – 4 hours. During this time, our healthcare team will review your medical history with you, arrange for any required diagnostic tests, and provide you with information to help you understand your treatment plan.
Here are some of the general steps involved in your first visit:
- You will register with the Receptionist and answer a short questionnaire before you meet your primary nurse and oncologist (a doctor who specializes in cancer care).
- Your nurse will take your height, weight, and ask a few health-related questions.
- Your oncologist will meet with you, take your medical history and may perform a physical exam.
- Additional investigations that may be ordered or performed at that visit include blood tests, x-rays, and diagnostic scans, all of which will help the oncologist to plan your treatment.
- The oncologist will meet with you to discuss treatment options and may arrange a return visit to start treatment or have further discussions about your care.
- Your photograph will be taken and kept in your personal health record, to aid identification and ensure that the correct patient is receiving the prescribed treatment.
What to bring
Please bring the following with you to your first appointment:
- Ontario Health Card (most recently issued)
- All medicines you are currently taking, including all over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements, preferably in their original containers
- Name, address and phone number of your family doctor
- Name, address and phone number of your drug store
- Group and policy numbers for your drug insurance plan
- Eyeglasses and/or hearing aid, and any other assistive devices that you may need
- If you are diabetic, please bring meals, insulin and related supplies
- A family member or someone to take notes during the visit
No Smoking Policy
Smoking is prohibited on the Southalke campus, inside and out.
Southlake is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its patients and visitors, as well as its employees, physicians, and volunteers.
To assist our patients, we have several trained hospital staff members who would be pleased to offer smoking cessation treatment/counseling. A number of self-help educational materials will also be available at the patient areas in the Centre. Please check our Waiting areas for these booklets or ask our receptionists.
If you need to cancel or change an appointment, call our bookings clerk as soon as possible at the number below:
Radiation Treatment, 905-895-4521, ext. 6040.
Chemotherapy Treatment, 905-895-4521, ext. 2975
Please let us know if you are cancelling because you feel too sick to come. If are feeling sick to come in for your appointment, a nurse will contact you to discuss your symptoms, and help you to decide whether your treatment should be postponed or if you should still come to the Clinic to be seen by the doctor.
Appointments in the Out-patient Clinic are typically the day prior to your treatment, and typically involve blood-work, waiting time, and a consultation session with a medical oncologist. The main purpose of this visit is to ensure that you are physically and emotionally prepared for your chemotherapy treatment and that it is safe to administer the prescribed medications. We suggest you bring one family member, or friend, with you to your appointments, who can stay with you, and assist by listening, taking notes, or helping you communicate issues or concerns to your doctor.
Appointments are given for each time you are to visit the Cancer Centre. At every visit, please inform the receptionist if there is any change in your name, address, phone number, OHIP number, family doctor, pharmacy or emergency contact person.
Our staff will make every effort to make your visit run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, but we do appreciate your understanding and support on those infrequent occasions when unexpected delays may occur.
Before the end of your appointment please check to ensure that you have sufficient medication to last until your next visit with the doctor. If you must get a refill before your next clinic visit, please call your community pharmacy and request that they fax a prescription refill request to the Cancer Clinic at (905) 830-5815. Please be aware that it may take up to 48 hours before the doctor can authorize the prescription. It is recommended that you use the same community pharmacy for all
of your prescriptions.
Chemotherapy treatments may vary in length from 30 minutes to 7 hours, depending on your specific needs. Your nurse will inform you of the expected length of time required for your next treatment visit.
Blood tests and doctor visits are required to be done the day prior to your chemotherapy sessions. This allows time for us to interpret your blood results and ensure that the appropriate dose of chemotherapy is safe to be given the next day. This process will also significantly reduce wait times on treatment days.
It is recommended that you dress in layers, as you may feel hot and cold at times during your treatment. You will not be permitted to leave the chemotherapy unit while your medications are being infused.
You may have one support person with you during your treatments. Children under 12 years of age are not allowed in the chemotherapy treatment area at any time.
If your appointment is over the lunch hour, you may want to bring a lunch or have your visitor go to the cafeteria for you. You may also want to bring your own bottle of water.
Radiation Planning and Treatment
Your first Radiation appointment, known as a “planning appointment”, generally takes 1 to 3 hours to complete. This appointment allows your Radiation Oncologist and Radiation Therapist to accurately determine the treatment area through the use of a CT Simulator.
Once the treatment area is identified, marks will be placed on your skin. As these marks can wash off, it is necessary to give you very tiny permanent tattoo marks using a fine needle. The Radiation Therapist will explain this procedure to you.
Your healthcare team will continue to use the information captured during the CT scanning process to develop a plan that is specific to you. Following this appointment, you will be contacted with the date and time of your first Radiation Treatment appointment.
The initial Radiation Treatment appointment is typically longer than subsequent treatments, lasting about 20 – 45 minutes. The Radiation Therapist and other members of the team will check all of the details of the treatment plan and using a CT Scanner that is attached to the treatment machine, will verify the treatment area before every treatment.
Subsequent appointments are usually 15 – 30 minutes. The actual duration of your daily treatment depends on the radiation dosage and your treatment plan. The treatment beam is usually turned on for a short period of this time.
Receiving a radiation treatment is like having an x-ray taken. There is no pain or any sensation involved, and you do not become radioactive. It is important that you stay relaxed, breathe normally and remain in the treatment position. You will not see or feel anything during treatment.
Please feel free to bring in your own music, which can be played while you are having your treatment.
The Radiation Therapists will not stay in the room with you, but they can see you at all times on a video screen just outside the room. There is an intercom in the room that you may use at any time to speak with the Radiation Therapist.
We believe that the treatment and visit experience is enhanced by our patients being knowledgeable about their treatment options. We welcome and encourage you to use every visit as an opportunity to ask questions of any member of your healthcare team. As you may have additional questions or concerns that arise during the course of your treatment, we would encourage you to write them down and raise them with a member of your healthcare team at your next appointment.