Your cancer care team uses the information they have about your cancer and the information you give them to inform your treatment plan. You may only meet some members of your cancer care team one or two times (for example, in the blood lab or for a diagnostic test such as a biopsy). Or, you may end up knowing members of your cancer care team for years after treatment ends (for example, your oncologist or clinic nurse). How well you are able to talk with your cancer care team is key to getting the care that is best for you.
Before being diagnosed with cancer, many people do not know much about cancer or its treatments. Many people also do not know much about the types of health care providers who work in cancer centres and what supports are available to them. This is normal.
As a patient, you may need to know about:
- The details of your cancer
- Your prognosis (outlook)
- Your treatment options
- Financial supports
Support resources available to you (for example, support groups and classes)
Your cancer care team also needs to learn about you to best treat your cancer. Your cancer care team needs to know:
- Your medical history
- How you are feeling
- Any financial concerns related to cancer treatment
- Your support needs, and more (for example, getting to your appointments, referral to other cancer care providers)
Remember that you and your cancer care team will always come back to the goal. This goal is to treat your cancer and help you get through treatment. More tips for talking with your cancer care team can be found in the "Tips From Patients" section of the Guide Book (page 47).
Learn how to prepare for your first appointment »
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Tips for Calling Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Note: For emergencies, go to your local emergency department or to the Emergency at
Toronto General Hospital. Be sure to tell the emergency staff that your cancer is being treated at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Note: Princess Margaret Cancer Centre does not have an emergency department.
For Medical Concerns
Monday to Friday, 9:00am-4:30pm
If you have a concern about how you are feeling, call the site telephone line to talk to the Specialized Oncology Nurse. You will be given the number for the site telephone line on your first visit. You can leave a message on the answering machine from Monday to Friday, 9:00am-4:30pm. Leave the following information on the answering machine:
- Your OHIP number (found on your health card)
- Your name
- Your daytime phone number
- Details about your concern
On weekends and after hours
- Call CAREpath to talk to a Specialized Oncology Nurse. You can reach CAREpath at 1 877 681 3057.
- Call your primary care provider's office (your primary care provider is your family doctor or nurse practitioner).
For Appointment Changes and Non-Medical Questions
- Call your clinic if you need to change or cancel your appointment.
- Contact your oncologist (cancer doctor) at their office if you need:
- Any forms or letters filled
- Access to your medical records or information sent to your primary care provider
- A referral to another specialist
Tips for Coming in for a Clinic Visit
When you come in for a clinic visit, bring:
- Your OHIP card
- The contact information of your pharmacist and primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner)
- A complete list of all your medicines. This includes over-the-counter drugs, herbals, minerals, vitamins, and eye, ear, and nose drops.
- All of your current medicines in their original bottles. This includes over-the-counter drugs, herbals, minerals, vitamins, and eye, ear, and nose drops.
- A list of questions you have about your treatment plan and care
- A family member or friend to take notes and help you remember what was said in your appointments. You can also bring a family member or friend to keep you company.
- A snack or drink and something to read if you have to wait (for example, a book or magazine)
- Your Cancer Journey Planner. You can write down your list of questions and list of medicines in your Planner. You can also use your Planner to take notes at appointments.