Planning for your first visit

Welcome to CancerCare Manitoba.  We know that getting ready to visit can a be little overwhelming with all of the questions and concerns you may have. During your first appointment, you will have a chance to talk about your worries and concerns and to ask questions. We want you to take part in your appointments and to get the most out of a visit with your health care team.

To help, we have put together the following information to make it easier for you to prepare for your first appointment.
Your Guide to CancerCare Manitoba located in our Helpful Resources page also provides basic information to help you prepare.

What to know before your appointment

  • Interpreters
    • To help you communicate with your health care team, you can ask to have an interpreter attend. Please ensure this is arranged before coming to the cancer centre for your appointment. Interpreters are available free of charge for many languages.
  • Travel & Parking
    • The Canadian Cancer Society coordinates a Driver Program that matches volunteer drivers with ambulatory patients who are receiving treatment and need rides to get to appointments. A daily user fee is charged. Click here for details.
    • Please visit Our Locations
  • Lodging
    • Do you live outside of Winnipeg but are staying in the city for your appointments or treatments? Make sure we know where you are staying in Winnipeg and how to call you.
Planning being done on a laptop and in notebook (c) ShutterStock

What to bring to your appointment

  • Identification Cards
    • Bring your Manitoba Health Card (purple and white card). Don’t have a Manitoba Health Card? Call 204-786-7101 or Toll-free 1-800-392-1207
  • Medical Records
    • Make a list of all your past surgeries, illnesses and allergies.
    • Make sure you have up-to-date information about your regular health care provider (family doctor, walk-in clinic, or nursing station). Updates about your care are sent to your regular health care provider.
  • Medications
    • Bring in all of your current medications. Tell you health care team about any alternative medicines you may take such as herbs, traditional medicines, vitamins and supplements.
    • Tell your health care team about any complementary therapies you use, like massage and naturopathy.
  • Other Documents
    • Bring any forms you need to have filled out by the doctor or nurse.
    • If you have one, bring a copy of your Living Will or Advanced Care Plan related to your medical wishes.
    • Write down your worries, concerns or any questions you may have and share them with your health care team.
  • Support
    • Bring a family member or friend to your appointment. They can help take notes and assist you in asking questions.
    • Bring something to do while you wait.
Typing on a keyboard (c) ShutterStock
A Nurse and Patient having a discussion (c) Shutterstock

What Will Happen At Your Appointment?

  • You are given specific times for your appointments. If you have extra tests, your appointment may take longer. Sometimes there can be delays. We will do our best to see you on time.
  • Find the clinic where your appointment will be and tell the clerk that you are there.
  • A unit assistant or nurse will measure your height and weight. Then they will take you to an exam room.
  • You may be asked to change into a gown.
  • You will be asked if you would like to record the meeting with your cancer doctor and health care team. Patient Consultation Recording is available and can help you to remember more information from your appointment and help you make a decision about your treatment. You will be given a memory stick with the recording of the appointment that you can listen to on a computer.
  • The health care team:
    • will ask many questions.
    • may ask to look at the area of your body where your tumour (lump) or illness is located
    • will talk to you about a plan for your care and what you will do next.
    • is here to answer any questions you may have.
  • Patients will be asked to complete a Comprehensive Problem and Symptom Screening (COMPASS) questionnaire at most cancer clinic visits. Healthcare professionals want to hear about the issues and symptoms you are having, and about the things that might be making life difficult for you at this time. All of the information is kept private and only shared with your healthcare team. After you complete the COMPASS questionnaire, your nurse will talk to you about your responses. We encourage our patients to start the conversation.

  • Before you leave, ask the nurse or clerk about your next appointment.

Questions that you may want to ask about your diagnosis

  • What kind of cancer do I have?
  • Which treatment do you recommend? Why?
  • What will happen if I don’t have this treatment?
  • What does my diagnosis mean?
  • What risks or side effects should I expect?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • What treatment(s) are available?