Massachusetts General Hospital's Division of Surgical Oncology answers your frequently asked questions on scheduling an appointment.

Scheduling an Appointment

surgical oncology consultation

Frequently Asked Questions

Our team answers your questions about:

Q: How do I schedule an appointment with a surgical oncologist at Mass General?
A: To schedule an appointment with a surgical oncologist at Mass General, you may:

Q: How long does it take to get an appointment?
A:
Appointments with surgical oncologists are most often made the same week as requested. In the instance that a physician is booking appointments more than a week in advance, our office will try to accommodate you by scheduling an appointment with another equally qualified physician who can see you sooner or on a non-clinic day (schedule permitting).

Q: What information do I need to gather before my appointment?
A:
If you are a patient whose diagnosis of cancer was made at Mass General, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Newton-Wellesley Hospital or North Shore Medical Center, we will have access to many of your records on the Partners HealthCare computerized medical record system. You will still need to bring with you to the visit all X-ray films (e.g. mammograms, CT scans, PET scans, MRI scans).

If you are a patient whose diagnosis of cancer was made elsewhere, you will need to ask your physician to send your pertinent medical records, such as operative and pathology reports, colonoscopy reports, clinic/office notes and results of recent blood tests. You will also need to bring with you to the visit all X-ray films and pathology slides (e.g. mammograms, CT scans, PET scans, MRI scans).

It is important to know all of the medications that you are taking (and their dosages). Please bring a list of these medications. It is also important to bring with you the complete names, addresses, fax numbers and phone numbers of your current physicians.

When you are scheduling your appointment with a surgical oncologist in the Cancer Center, our access nurses will help you determine anything else you may need to bring.

Q: What is the difference between radiology reports and radiology images?
A:
Radiology images are the actual X-ray pictures that are taken when you have a CAT scan, MRI, PET scan, mammogram or other type of X-ray. In contrast, radiology reports are the doctor’s written (paper) report or interpretation of the scans or X-rays. Radiology reports can be faxed to us. Radiology images should be saved onto a disk by the radiology facility. The disc should either be mailed or preferably hand carried to your appointment. If you have the films mailed, you should use a method that can be tracked (e.g. FedEx or UPS). It is beneficial for your surgeon to see the actual films, rather than relying upon a radiologist’s report.

Q: What is the difference between pathology reports and pathology slides?
A:
Pathology slides are the glass slides that contain the actual tissue specimen. Pathology reports are the doctor’s written (paper) report or interpretation of the slides. The reports can be faxed or mailed to us. The slides must be sent or hand carried to the appointment so that they can be submitted for review by our pathologists. If you mail these slides, you should use a method that can be tracked (e.g. FedEx or UPS).

Q: When will my surgery be scheduled?
A: Once you have seen the surgical oncologist, your surgery will be scheduled as soon as possible and/or medically necessary. Some patients require further testing in order to be cleared for surgery. If this is the case, your surgery will be scheduled once you have completed the necessary tests.

Q: What types of insurance do you accept, and do I need a referral?
A:
Mass General accepts most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Before scheduling your hospital visit, check with your health insurance provider to see if you are covered and learn the specifics of your coverage. Insurance plans are agreements made between you and your insurer, and Mass General cannot ensure that an insurance provider will pay for your care. It is your responsibility to understand what types of coverage your health insurance provides and to be sure that you meet all requirements stipulated by your specific plan.

Your health insurance provider will be able to inform you of your level of coverage and what, if any, copayments, coinsurances and deductibles will be your responsibility. If you do not contact your provider, you can be ultimately be responsible for all or a large portion of your bill.

If you are enrolled in a managed care group, such as an HMO or PPO, you might need a referral from your primary care physician. Please contact your physician for authorization before your appointment, elective procedure or admission to the hospital. Depending on your insurance provider, you might be required to pay a deductible or copayment. In some cases, a deposit can be required. An admitting office coordinator will discuss any deposit details with you.

Learn more about billing and insurance

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