We strongly feel that the more pertinent information we can get about your work-up and any treatment done to date, the better we can decide how to proceed with treatment. Because of this philosophy, your evaluation at our weekly head and neck tumor clinic begins before you set foot in the office. Unless the appointment is made urgently, we attempt to contact you by telephone prior to the visit to obtain some basic history information.
We also request that you provide us with any pertinent operative notes, pathology reports, doctor or clinic notes, radiology reports, etc. If scans have been obtained, we appreciate being able to view the actual images on computer disk, and ask for you to bring such disks with you to the visit. Please understand that despite their best of intentions, many physicians' offices do not provide us with such information, and if you do not physically bring these reports and scans with you to the visit, we may not have the necessary background information to allow us to complete your evaluation at this visit. Do not rely on others to fax, mail, or deliver them to us.
We realize that your time is valuable, and we do our very best to run the clinic in an efficient and organized manner. But it is important to realize that, because head and neck cancer is complex and since no two cases are alike, it can be difficult to accurately predict how long a specific evaluation will take. Though evaluations at this multidisciplinary clinic can at times be quick, some patients are in our office for several hours. This is more likely in complex cases, when a biopsy is needed, or if we need to contact referring physicians for additional information. So we ask you to be patient. If we are running late, we promise you that your case will be given as much time as necessary.
In addition, it is sometimes necessary to obtain additional information from new radiologic tests or an examination under anesthesia before we can finalize our recommendations. Since many of our patients travel long distances to our clinic, and since timing can be critical, there are times when we suggest that new patients stay overnight so that this testing can start the following day. We therefore suggest that you come prepared for an overnight stay, if necessary. St. Vincent Hospital has a hotel on its campus, The Marten House, which provides rooms to our patients and their families in such instances at little or no charge. Our nursing staff can discuss further details about this with you.
Our team includes a multidisciplinary array of specialists with expertise in surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, social work, and nursing. We also often have students and physicians in training present as part of their learning experience. Most or all of these specialists will likely need to spend some time with you, and this may involve you being asked the same questions more than once. Please be patient with this process, as it can be important for everyone to be able to hear parts of the history themselves and see things with their own eyes.
We do our best to respect your privacy and to comply with all HIPAA regulations, and to provide our services in as calm and soothing an environment as possible. Yet a team of this many health care providers can at times appear intimidating or overwhelming. If this is the case, let us know. We want you to feel comfortable with us.
We hope that by the end of this initial multidisciplinary evaluation, we will have enough information to be able to fully plan your treatment, and that all of your questions will have been answered. But if this is not possible in your case, additional testing or office evaluations might be necessary. If that is the case, we will attempt to minimize any disruption of your schedule and daily activities. We also try to remain available afterwards for your questions and concerns.
Please make sure that when you leave, you understand who to contact for such questions and how best to do so.