On Your First Visit


What to Bring

It's best to bring as much information as possible with you to your first appointment, including the following.

Medical Records

Please bring copies of your written medical records to your first visit. It is especially helpful for your current doctor to send a written summary of your cancer treatment history to your UCLA doctor in advance of your appointment.

List of Medications

Please bring a list of all medications you are currently taking, including dosages and how often you take each medicine. Be sure to include any supplements or vitamins you take as well.

X-Rays, Scans and Other Films

Please bring the actual imaging films related to your diagnosis. Sometimes, after images are taken, your doctor may provide you with the results, but not the actual films. You'll want to get a copy of these films. They can be obtained from the imaging department or facility where they were taken. The doctor who ordered the images can also assist you in obtaining a copy. Some examples of imaging films include:

  • X-Rays
  • CT scans (CAT scans)
  • MRI scans
  • Mammograms
  • PET scans
  • Ultrasounds

Pathology Slides

If your cancer has been diagnosed through a biopsy, it is often important that the diagnosis be reviewed and confirmed by a pathologist at UCLA. If applicable, please bring your pathology slides. The doctor who diagnosed your cancer can assist you in getting the pathology report to UCLA.

Payment and Insurance Information

UCLA accepts most health insurance plans and will bill your insurance company or companies directly for covered services included in your plan. If you are not covered by insurance, we generally request payment at the time of your appointment. We encourage you to review your insurance plan prior to your first appointment with us and to make sure that you understand your coverage.

Also, be sure to:

  • Check with your HMO, PPO or employer to confirm that UCLA is included in your plan. (You can do this by calling your plan's customer service department or speaking to your employer's benefits representative.)
  • Find out if your plan requires an authorization for your initial consultation. (Again, your plan's customer service department and/or your employer's benefits representative can help you with this.) If an authorization is required, please bring a copy of the authorization to your first appointment. 
  • After your initial consultation, we ask that you see our managed care coordinator as soon as you know that you will be receiving care at UCLA. Your UCLA doctor can direct you to our managed care coordinator after your visit.
  • For insurance coverage or billing help, feel free to call (800) UCLA-MD1 [1-800-825-2631] or see our Payment and Insurance information pages for more info.

For help with anything non-medical at UCLA, feel free to speak with a UCLA Health Patient Liaison. You can visit their website here.

Key Questions to Ask

A cancer diagnosis is often shocking and overwhelming. Before your visit to UCLA, it can be helpful to write out a list of questions for your doctor and/or the other staff members who will be assisting you. Below are some questions you may want to consider.

General Questions

  • What is the name of my cancer?
  • Which part of my body is affected?

About Tests

  • Why do I need these tests?
  • What will you learn from this test?
  • How accurate is this test?
  • Is there any risk to the test?
  • Will the result of this test make any difference to the treatment you provide?
  • What are the results of the test I already had?
  • Have I had this test previously? If so, why is it being repeated?

About Treatment

  • What treatments are available for my type of cancer?
  • What treatments do you recommend?
  • How long will the treatment last?
  • What are the possible side effects of the treatment?
  • Can the side effects be prevented or controlled?
  • Are the side effects temporary or permanent?
  • How will this treatment affect my daily life?
  • How is the treatment given?
  • How does the treatment work?
  • Will I receive treatment as an outpatient or be admitted to the hospital?
  • Will I need someone to assist me to and from the treatment facility?
  • How much will the treatment cost?
  • What if this treatment does not work?

About Participating in Clinical Trials

  • Would a clinical trial or investigational treatment be appropriate for me?
  • What benefit is there for me?
  • What are the risks?
  • How does this treatment differ from traditional treatment?
  • Will this treatment require more of my time than traditional treatment?
  • Why are these studies important?
  • What are the goals of the study?
  • Do I have the right to refuse to participate in a clinical trial?
  • Can I withdraw from the clinical trial at any time?

For more information about clinical trials see our Enroll in a Clinical Trial section.

Additional Questions

  • What resources are available to me and my family to assist with the stresses of cancer?
  • Is there an oncology social worker or psychologist available to talk to me or my family?
  • Do you have experts in nutrition and dietary supplements?
  • Are there resources to coordinate complementary therapies with traditional therapies?
  • Are there resources for special needs such as financial, transportation or housing concerns?
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