First Visit

Relaxing, compassionate atmosphere for all consultation needs

What to expect

Your medical oncologist is responsible for accurately diagnosing and determining the stage of your cancer, and for creating and implementing a comprehensive treatment plan.

To do these things your oncologist needs to use many skills including:

  • Advisor: your oncologist will explain your diagnosis, your prognosis and your treatment options to you and your family. They use chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and other medical treatments to manage and treat cancer in patients.
  • Physician and carer: your oncologist will not only look after your cancer but also your needs including management of your symptoms.
  • Researcher: your oncologist will keep up to date with the latest treatments and will often be involved in testing them through clinical trials.
  • Manager: your oncologist is part of a multidisciplinary team and will work in collaboration with other specialists, such as radiologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and palliative care doctors. They will be responsible for overseeing your cancer treatment, monitoring your progress and making any adjustments to your treatment plan. 

The initial consultation will take around 45 minutes and a management plan will be formulated with you and forwarded to your referring doctor.  During the early stages of your treatment, your oncologist may make two management review appointments.  These appointments are more comprehensive and your response to treatment will be reviewed.  All other follow-up appointments will usually take about 15 minutes.


Treatment discussion

Personalised cancer treatment options will be discussed with you. Your oncologist will thoroughly discuss all treatment options and explain the benefits, risks and potential side effects. You will be given detailed information about your treatment drugs, their effectiveness and side effects.  Once you have enough information to make your treatment decision and decide to proceed with your treatment plan, you will be asked to sign an informed consent.


Before your first appointment:


Please bring to your appointment your completed patient details form and privacy consent, Medicare card or DVA card, private health fund details, pension card or health care card, an up to date medication list, and all relevant recent scans and blood tests.

To make your first appointment a little easier, we ask that you complete the patient details form prior to your appointment. You can give these completed forms to reception staff on arrival for your appointment.


  • It’s natural to feel anxious and overwhelmed during this appointment, and it’s easy to forget important questions. Writing them down beforehand can help ensure that you get the information you need.
  • Bring a friend or family member to provide emotional support and help you remember important details.
  • Take notes as it can help you keep track of important information and decisions.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Cancer and its treatment can be complex and difficult to understand.
  • Keep in mind that your oncologist is a valuable resource. They are experienced and have access to the latest research and treatment options.

Oncology treatment charges

Treatment Costs

Your treating oncologist does not charge out-of-pocket costs for supervising your chemotherapy. The fee for this service is covered by Medicare at the North Coast Cancer Institute, Grafton Base Hospital and Ballina District Hospital. You will be asked to sign an informed financial consent to ensure your understanding about the Medicare fees your oncologist will receive for supervising your treatment.

If you have treatment at St Vincent’s Day Oncology Unit all supervising chemotherapy fees are covered under your health fund.

If you have treatment at St Vincent’s Day Oncology Unit your PBS script costs for chemotherapy drugs and premedications are all covered by your health fund.  On discharge however you will need to pay PBS script fees for take home medications.  DVA patients are covered fully for all prescription costs.

If you have treatment in the cancer clinics at the public hospitals you will have PBS script fees for all chemotherapy and take home medications.  The pharmacy will keep a computer record for you and will notify you once you have reached the Safety Net threshold and issue you a PBS Safety Net card (see Pharmacy costs).  This card will bring the cost of PBS scripts down to concession rates or free for the rest of the year.  Please note,  if you use different pharmacies you will need to add up these receipts yourself and watch the total.

Click for further information regarding the Medicare Safety Net or Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

Clinical Trials Costs

No out-of-pocket costs are incurred for delivery of your treatment or care when you participate in a clinical trial. You will be given Medicare bulk billing assignment forms for your oncologist’s services for your records.

Pharmacy Costs

Epic Pharmacy is the pharmacy which provides all chemotherapy and supportive medicines to our area.  It provides specialised hospital, aged care and oncology pharmacy services. The local Epic oncology pharmacy is located at St Vincent’s Hospital and can be contacted on (02)6624 0688 for any enquiries about pharmacy accounts.

All chemotherapy drugs are subsidised under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).  You will have out-of-pocket costs for PBS scripts for chemotherapy drugs and supportive medicines.  These costs will be the same as for any doctor’s PBS prescription.

Hospital Costs:

If you need to be admitted to hospital and you are a public patient your oncologist can oversee your care at Lismore Base Hospital.  You may also be treated by doctors nominated by the hospital, and you will not be charged for most treatment and care.

If you need to be admitted to hospital and you are a private patient your oncologist can oversee your care at St Vincent’s Hospital or Lismore Base Hospital (if you nominate to be a private patient). The oncologists participate in the health funds No Gap Scheme and there are no out-of-pocket costs for your care whilst you are an inpatient.  If you elect to have your treatment at St Vincent’s Day Oncology Unit you will be asked to complete a health fund form and this form will cover your day stay admission fee.  It is advised that you check with your health fund about your excess which is usually a one-off fee charged once a year.