ALL First Appointment

Your first appointment at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is a time for you and your hematologist-oncologist to meet. You might meet your advanced practice provider, too. You will talk about your diagnosis, subtype and likely treatment . This visit is also a time for us to start getting to know you as a person. This helps us fit our recommendations to you. Together, you and your care team will decide what needs to happen next.

We encourage you to bring a family member or friend to your first appointment (and any future visits).

Ready to schedule an appointment?

What to Expect

Your first appointment usually takes one to two hours. You will spend about one hour with your physician. Here’s what you can expect to happen.


Confirming Your Diagnosis

Most of our new patients have already had a blood test or bone marrow test that shows they have ALL and which subtype it is. A Fred Hutch hematopathologist will check your tests before your first appointment to see if they agree with the test results.

Knowing your subtype is important because it helps your physicians decide which treatments are most likely to work. Our hematopathologists may run more tests to confirm your diagnosis or to narrow down your subtype. They will give the results to your Fred Hutch physician, who will explain your diagnosis and what it means.

doctor reviewing record

Classifying Your Disease

Most cancers are given a numbered stage based on the size of the tumor and how far the disease has spread. But because leukemia often doesn't form a solid tumor and is found throughout the body, there is no official staging system for ALL.

doctor writing prescription

Discussing Your Treatment

The treatment we recommend for you depends mainly on your ALL subtype, classification, overall health and age. Treatment for ALL is highly complex and intense. Because the disease progresses quickly, treatment oftens starts very soon after diagnosis, sometimes in just a few hours or days.

These appointments are also a time to tell us about yourself. Each patient and family have their own needs and preferences. We want to get to know you so we can understand the best way to care for you.

doctor reviewing notes with patient

Answering Your Questions

Starting with your first appointment (and after), we are here to answer your questions. We want to help you understand as much as you want to know about your disease, your treatment and how care happens at Fred Hutch. We invite you to bring a friend or family member with you to help keep track of your quesitons and the information that your team gives you.

We also encourage you to talk with your care team about your hopes and concerns. Knowing more about you helps your team recommend the right treatment for you. Before you leave, we will make sure you know what is going to happen next and how you can reach us if you have questions later. We will also schedule your next visit.

Resources for Patients and Caregivers

Here are tips about how to prepare for your first appointment at Fred Hutch and what to bring.

Caregiving at the First Appointment

Just like every patient’s situation is different, every caregiver may be asked to help with different tasks.

As a caregiver, you can give your loved one both emotional and practical support for their first appointment. Ask them if you can help with things like these:

  • Helping them manage their stress, worry or other feelings.
  • Planning how to get to and from the appointment, what time to leave home and where to park.
  • Making a list of questions they want to ask the physician. Fred Hutch’s Guide to Your Care has a list of questions they may want to ask the care team. At the appointment, make sure that all their questions get answered.
  • Taking notes during the visit. The physician will be giving a lot of details, which can be hard to remember later without notes.