Questions to Ask When Making Appointments

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2023

You will have many medical appointments throughout your cancer experience. Learning the basics about these appointments beforehand will help make sure you get the most out of each visit. It can also help reduce stress and anxiety. Consider asking the following questions when scheduling an appointment.

Basic questions

  • What is the doctor's full name and title?

  • How can I contact the office?

  • What forms will I need to fill out when I arrive? What information will I need to do that?

  • What is the appointment cancellation policy?

  • Will I receive an account in a patient portal? What is this used for?

  • Is online scheduling of appointments an option? If so, how does your system work?

Questions to ask about getting to your appointment

  • Where is the office located? What is the building address? Which floor is the office on? What is the room or suite number?

  • Where should I park? Will I have to pay for parking?

  • Can I get to the office using public transportation?

  • Which entrance to the building should I use?

  • How far will I need to walk?

  • Is there a website where I can learn more about your office or center?

Questions to ask about insurance

  • Does my insurance plan cover this visit to this doctor?

  • Do I need to get a referral to see the doctor?

  • Does my insurance plan cover lab work or other tests done during this visit?

  • Will the office bill my insurance company? Or will I need to pay at the time of each visit?

  • Will I be charged a co-pay for each visit? If so, how much will that be?

  • Should I bring my insurance cards?

Questions to ask about the appointment

  • What is the main purpose of this visit? What can I expect? Such as, will I receive a physical exam and/or will we discuss test results and/or treatment options?

  • Will I need to change into a hospital gown during my visit?

  • What medical information should I bring to my appointment? Such as surgical or pathology reports, diagnostic test results, or contact information for other doctors I have seen? Any other items?

  • Will I have any procedures or tests done during this appointment?

  • If so, when will I receive the results of those tests? Who will explain those results to me? Will results show in my patient portal before my next appointment?

  • Are there any foods or activities I should avoid before my appointment?

  • How long will this appointment likely last?

  • May I bring a family member or friend when I meet with the doctor?

  • May I record what the doctor says?

  • What support staff members will be available during my visit? Such as an oncology nurse, social worker, registered dietitian, or counselor, depending on my current needs?

  • When is my next appointment with this doctor? Should I make that before leaving the office this visit?

Related Resources

Managing Your Care

Medical Forms

Questions to Ask Your Health Care Team

Tracking Your Medical Bills and Health Insurance Claims