Thyroid Cancer First Appointment

Your first appointment at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is a time for you and your medical oncologist to meet. You might meet your advanced practice provider, too. 

You will talk about your diagnosis, subtype, stage and the treatment you will probably have. 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). 

“My primary focus is caring for you. I enjoy teaching you about your diagnosis and treatment options and acting as an advocate to ensure you receive the best health care possible.”
— Christina F. Blanchette, PA-C

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. The rest of your visit may involve checking in, going to an exam room and getting settled in, meeting other members of your team and setting up your next appointments. Here is what you can expect to happen:


Confirming Your Diagnosis

To check your diagnosis, your physician will go over the results of your biopsy and decide which type of thyroid cancer you have. Your physician will probably order imaging tests to get a better look at your tumor before surgery — or to recommend a “watchful waiting” approach.

doctor reviewing record

Staging Your Disease

Unlike other types of cancer, thyroid cancer isn’t always staged before treatment. In fact, you’ll probably get information about the stage of your disease after surgery.

doctor writing prescription

Discussing Your Treatment

For most patients, surgery is the standard course of treatment. The procedure will remove either all or part of your thyroid. Before surgery, you’ll meet with your care team to talk about what will happen. 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.

After surgery, your physician will tell you your stage and talk to you about any treatment that you may need. Because many people with thyroid cancer are still young enough to have children, fertility may be something we think about with your treatment plan.

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.

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.