Multiple Myeloma 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, stage 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 lasts one to two hours. You will spend about one hour with your physician. The rest of your visit may involve checking in, being taken to an exam room and getting settled in there, meeting other members of your team and setting up your next appointments. Here is what you can expect to happen. 


Confirming Your Diagnosis

Checking your diagnosis is an important part of designing your treatment. Your physician will look carefully at your bloodwork, urine test results, biopsy results and/or imaging to decide if your myeloma is asymptomatic (also called smoldering or indolent) or symptomatic (also called active).

doctor reviewing record

Staging Your Disease

Your physician will also find out the stage of your cancer. To stage multiple myeloma, we need to see how far along your disease is. Your physician will use blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy to check your stage. Then, your cancer will be labeled as stage I, I or III, with I being the lowest and III being the highest.    

doctor writing prescription

Discussing Your Treatment

If you have smoldering (asymptomatic) myeloma, you may not need treatment right away. Instead, your physician may schedule regular appointments to keep an eye on how your disease changes. Monitoring for smoldering myeloma usually involves clinic visits and lab work every 3–6 months. If your disease is symptomatic, your physician will explain which treatments you are likely to need. After we know what stage your disease is, we will meet with you again to talk about your treatment in more detail.

These appointments are also a time for you to tell us about yourself. Each patient and family has their own needs and preferences. We want to get to know you so we 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 questions 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.

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

Caregiving at the First Appointment

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.