The Day You Arrive

Lisa Garvey, Center Administrator, describes what to expect upon arriving at Roswell Park for the first time.

Dress Comfortably

We recommend that you dress in comfortable clothing appropriate for your appointment. You may be asked to change into a medical robe for your examination. We recommend wearing loose clothing that is easy to take off and put on.

Bring Support

We highly recommend that you bring a family member or friend with you for your first visit. That person may take notes or just provide support for you during your appointment.


If you are scheduled to have a long procedure or hours of infusion during your appointment, you will be better off making childcare arrangements – or rescheduling your appointment if your sitter cancelled or your partner suddenly got called to work. However, if you’re coming for a quick checkup, you may be able to get by bringing your child or children. We ask that you to be sensitive to other patients who may view disturbances caused by crying babies and active children as adding stress to their already fragile condition.

Wait Times

Personalized care doesn’t always follow definitive time schedules, and we appreciate your understanding and patience if we keep you waiting longer than you expected. In some cases, patients require special attention. Be assured that your doctor will make every effort to see you as soon as possible.

Write Down Your Questions in Advance

We recommend that you compile a written list of all questions and concerns that you want to address during your time at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. There may be several departments and individuals that you will come into contact with during your visit and you will want to remember who you spoke with about what.

Take notes on what the office staff and medical staff discuss with you. Be sure to ask questions if you do not understand a policy, procedure, medical term, or the reason for your doctor’s diagnosis, treatment plan, recommendations, medication instructions, or post-appointment instructions. If you need additional information to take with you, ask your doctor for handouts, brochures, or online resources that you can review at home.

Enter the Hospital

The main entrance opens to the hospital lobby on the ground floor. In the middle of the lobby is the information desk. Stop there to have your parking ticket validated. If a wheelchair is needed, ask one of the transportation staff at the front door to provide one. If you are a visitor, a staff member at the information desk can help you locate a patient's hospital room or check a patient's status. 

Register and Get Your ID Card

Check in at the Patient Access Department (Registration) located in the lobby. A patient access staff member will greet you, ask if you have brought radiology films or slides and the list of your physicians. You will be given a pager that will alert you when your patient access representative is ready to meet with you. The representative will then:

  • ask for your health and prescription insurance information
  • provide you with your patient identification card
  • provide you with health care proxy and advance directive forms, if you need them
  • direct you to your appointment and center

If you have questions or issues regarding your health insurance coverage or possible discounted rates, ask to speak to a financial counselor. 

Have Your Blood Tested, if Required

The patient access representative will let you know if you need blood tests, and will direct you to the Phlebotomy (blood test) Department located in the north clinic hallway. Access to this hallway is through the set of double doors just beyond the main bank of public elevators.

Proceed to Your Designated Center

The letter you received from us explained which Ambulatory Center you are to report to on your first visit. Proceed to that center, which will be located on the ground floors 1, 2, or 3. Ask any staff member or volunteer you see in the lobby for directions and assistance. 

Check-in at Your Center

Once you arrive at your center, check in with the receptionist. She will let the nurse assigned to your doctor know that you are here. 


If you would like to visit other areas of the hospital while you wait, ask the receptionist for a pager. You will be notified when your doctor is ready  to see you.

Meet with Your Health Care Team

Before you meet with your doctors, your nurse will conduct an assessment examination and ask about your medications, allergies and symptoms. The nurse may then direct you back to the waiting room and will call for you as soon s the next exam room is available. Once you are in the exam room, you will meet your nurse practitioner or physician assistant and then your doctor. Your doctor will review your medical history, perform a physical examination, and review your diagnostic test results and past medical records. He or she will discuss your treatment options and answer any questions you may have. If you need more diagnostic testing, the center staff will assist you in scheduling these tests.

Next Step(s)

Your doctor also will explain the next step in your treatment process. This may include additional doctor visits as well as chemotherapy, radiation or surgery. Whatever the next step may be, your doctor will arrange and monitor your care and be available to answer your questions. If you need to change your doctor's appointment, call your center. 

When You Have Questions

Whenever you have questions about your cancer care and treatment at Roswell Park, call your center. If you have any questions or problems during the evenings, weekends or holidays, call 716-845-2300 and ask to speak to the physician on call for your center.