The Division of Surgical Oncology answers your frequently asked questions about the patient experience at Massachusetts General Hospital.

The Patient Experience

surgical oncology consultation

Frequently Asked Questions

Our team answers your
questions about:

Q: What can I expect to happen at my first appointment?
A: At your first appointment, you can expect to meet with your surgeon and he/she will:

  • Review your prior medical history and perform a physical examination
  • Review your X-rays and medical reports
  • Discuss a treatment plan
  • Answer any questions that you or your family may have

If you are scheduled for a multidisciplinary clinic, you will meet with several physicians before a treatment plan is discussed with you. You can also expect to leave with the date and time of any other appointments that you might need scheduled

Q: Will I be admitted to the hospital at my first visit?
A: It is unlikely you will be admitted to the hospital on the day that you see your surgical oncologist. If you require additional testing, this will be scheduled. If you require surgery, this will also be scheduled at a later date. The vast majority of patients having surgery report to the hospital on the same day as their operation (rather than being admitted to the hospital the day before their operation).

Patients having some types of operations are not admitted to the hospital at all. Rather, they have their operations and are discharged the same day as their operation (e.g. skin surgery). Other patients will be scheduled to stay in the hospital for one or more nights. The hospital will check with your insurance company before your operation to make sure that your insurer will pay for these services.

Q: If I need a biopsy, will this procedure be done in the office?
A: Minor surgical procedures, such as small skin biopsies and simple lymph node biopsies, may be performed in a treatment room in the clinic on the same day as your initial evaluation. However, most patients will have their biopsy (e.g. breast biopsy) performed in the operating room at Mass General on another day.

Q: If I have my surgery at Mass General and need chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy after surgery, do I have to be treated at Mass General or can I be treated closer to my home?
A: If you have your operation at Mass General and have been told that you will need additional treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you have the option of receiving these treatments at the Cancer Center or at a facility closer to your home. If you decide to have your treatment closer to home, your surgeon can refer you to one of the many affiliated community institutions or to a hospital of your choice. Our surgical oncologists work closely with medical oncologists and radiation oncologists from various institutions throughout New England as well as throughout the United States.

Q: Are the clinical trials available at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute different from those available at the Mass General Cancer Center?
A:
No. Clinical trials available for patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are available for patients at Mass General as a result of a completely integrated clinical trials program between the two institutions, in addition to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. View our open clinical trials

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