What to Expect on your First Visit


Alabama Oncology considers it a privilege to care for you.  Our mission is to provide you with quality and compassionate cancer care in a community-based clinic setting close to home.  We want you to be comfortable.  That’s why we want you to know what you can expect on your first visit to one of our clinics.  Please take a minute to read over this information.  If you still have questions, please give us a call.

What to Expect on your First Visit

What to bring:

During your first visit to our clinic, please bring your photo ID (driver’s license) and your insurance card(s).  You will also need to complete your new patient paperwork , which is available from this page.  If you have not already filled out your new patient paperwork before arriving, please allow approximately 30 minutes to complete it.

Your insurance co-payment will be due prior to seeing the physician.  It is very important that you bring a complete list of your medications including strength, how you take the drug, and how often you take them (including over-the-counter meds and herbal supplements).

Here’s a checklist to help you:

  • Photo ID
  • Insurance cards
  • New Patient Paperwork
  • List of Medications (included in new patient paperwork)
  • Copay
  • Friends and Family

Where you will go:


Upon your arrival to the clinic, you will sign in at the front desk.  Our receptionists will make a copy of your photo ID and your insurance card(s).  They will collect your new patient paperwork if you’ve already completed it.  If not, they will provide you with all necessary forms to complete in the waiting room.  Our staff will collect your insurance co-payment at this time.


Your first stop in the clinic will be in our lab area.  The lab team will obtain your height and weight, and measure your vital signs.  Depending on your diagnosis, our phlebotomists may also draw blood for labs.  The lab staff will ask you for your list of current medications.  You will likely not receive treatment during your first visit.  However, when you are in the clinic to receive treatment, the lab staff may also obtain IV access.   While in the lab area, we ask that your family remain in the waiting room.  After you’re finished in the lab, you will return to the waiting room.

Exam Room

When it’s time for you to see your physician, you will be called in to an exam room. Your physician will perform a physician exam and ask questions about your medical history.  Your physician will review lab and scan results, discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan, and answer any questions you or your family may have.


After you’ve seen the physician, he/she will submit written treatment orders to the pharmacy.  You’ll go to the treatment room to prepare for your therapy.  In some instances, your treatment will involve an injection vs. IV therapy.  A nurse may administer your injection in the exam room where you visited with your physician.


After your visit to the clinic and/or treatment is complete, you will go to the check-out/scheduling area.  The Alabama Oncology staff will schedule any scans, return visits, or treatments that your physician has ordered.  When you check-out, you will receive an appointment card telling you the date and time of your next appointment(s). If needed, we’ll also help you schedule appointments with other physicians.  Please understand that we make every effort to accommodate your appointment time preferences, but can’t always guarantee it due to the schedule for all of the patients we serve.

Preparing for your First Treatment:

Alabama Oncology wants you to be comfortable and informed as you begin treatment.  After your physician reviews your lab results and approves your therapy, our nurses will discuss your treatment with you and your family.  This education is often called “chemo teaching.”  Your nurse will explain your treatment and provide literature on the specific drugs that you will receive.  She will also discuss possible side effects and how you and your physician will manage those side effects.  Your nurse will take the time to answer all of you and your family’s questions about your treatment.  After the chemo teaching is complete, your family will be asked to return to the waiting area.

We want you to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible during your treatment.  Our nurses will be available during your treatment to answer any questions you may have or to assist you.  For your convenience, these items will be available during your treatment:

  • A selection of light snacks, fruit juices, and soft drinks
  • Blankets and pillows (you’re welcome to bring your own, if preferred)
  • A library of books and magazines
  • Television
  • Wireless access (WIFI)

Many cancer patients create a “chemotherapy bag” that they bring each visit with items that they enjoy.  While we do provide pillows and blankets, you are more than welcome to bring one from home.  We offer WIFI at all of our clinics, so bring your electronic devices!

Treatment lengths vary, so you may want to bring food.  We are happy to provide water, soft drinks, juice and coffee during your treatment.  You are welcome to bring a snack or lunch depending on the time of your treatment.  We respectfully request that your food be cold or room temperature, as we do not have accommodations for heating nor storing food.  Please bring foods that do not have a strong odor, as the smell of certain foods could make others uncomfortable. A sandwich and a bag of chips or fruit is a good choice for lunch.  Please refrain from wearing heavy perfume or cologne while visiting the clinic.

Your treatment may include drugs that sedate you or make you drowsy.  For this reason, it is very important that you bring someone with you that can drive you home from your first treatment.

Please allow plenty of time for your treatment.  Treatment lengths vary from patient to patient.  Some treatments may last 30 minutes, while others may last as long as eight hours.  Our nurses’ primary goal is to administer your treatment properly and safely.  During chemo teaching, your nurse will describe how long your specific treatment should take.

At the conclusion of your treatment, your IV will be discontinued and you will be sent to the check-out desk to schedule your next appointment.

What to Expect on your First Visit