What to Expect at a Medical Oncology Appointment

Most patients are referred to a Pancreas Center medical oncologist after a diagnosis of cancer has already been made. Our goal is to confirm that the diagnosis is correct and ensure the extent of disease has been properly interpreted. This information determines the best course of therapy for each of our patients.

During your consultation, we will review your personal and family medical history and discuss the symptoms or examinations that led to your diagnosis. It will be important to go over your medical records including recent imaging studies, biopsy or pathology slides and reports, and any medical notes from your referring physicians, so please bring these with you. If your medical treatment has been conducted at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, we will be able to access your records through our internal systems. If any portion of your care has been performed at an outside facility, we strongly encourage you to obtain copies of your CT or MRI, reports, and biopsy or pathology slides ahead of time and bring them with you to your consultation. By thoroughly reviewing your information, your oncologist will be able to customize the best treatment regimen for you. Your oncologist may ask that you undergo further testing including blood work or imaging studies to determine your treatment.

We understand that you will have questions regarding your treatment options. By the time you leave your appointment, you should have answers to the following questions:

  • What is pancreatic cancer?
  • What is the current standard of treatment?
  • What is the treatment recommendation of the Pancreas Center?
  • Are there any clinical trials for which I am eligible?
  • What have other people chosen to do when faced with a similar treatment decision?
  • What are the treatment schedules and side effects of the recommended treatment plan?

We want to make sure patients and their families walk away satisfied, comfortable, and more informed than they were before their appointment. Rest assured the Pancreas Center oncologists will spend the time needed to achieve this goal.