A List of First Steps

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be feeling overwhelmed and not know where to begin. At Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center, we are here to help guide you through this vulnerable time. Not only do we offer you the most effective treatment for your type of cancer, we also provide you with the support services needed to care for your mind, body, and spirit.

Depending upon your particular type of cancer and when you need to begin treatment, you should begin taking the next steps toward making decisions about your care.

Here's how to get started:

Step One: Getting An Accurate Diagnosis

Getting an accurate diagnosis is the key to receiving the most effective treatment for your cancer type. At the Abramson Cancer Center, our specialists are among the most experienced in the nation at diagnosing cancer. We utilize the most advanced equipment and techniques to ensure that only the best treatment plans are put in place.

If you've already received a diagnosis from you referring physician, you may want to come to Penn to get a second opinion. Getting a second opinion will ensure that you are pursuing the best possible treatment options for your particular type of cancer. A second opinion may confirm your existing diagnosis and treatment path, or will provide you with additional options that could lead to more effective treatment.

Step Two: Verify Your Insurance

While the Abramson Cancer Center accepts most major insurance plans, it's a good idea to check with your insurance company before your first appointment to verify and understand:

  • Your coverage plan
  • If Penn is in or out of network and how this affects your financial responsibility
  • Your deductible and/ or applicable co-pay
  • Referrals needed for specialist visits. If required by the plan, your primary care provider will provide this
  • Prescription coverage
  • Any special instructions required by your insurance provider to ensure that you receive the maximum coverage allowable by your specific plan

Helpful Tip: Every patient at the Abramson Cancer Center has complimentary financial counseling available to them. You may also want to check with your employer or health plan to see if you have access to an insurance manager. An insurance manager is an individual who can help you navigate the complexities of your insurance benefits so that you can be fully informed about your particular insurance plan.

Step Three: Schedule Your Appointment

Finding a Penn cancer specialist who's right for you is simple. Call 800-789-7366 (PENN) to speak with an experienced cancer nurse who can help guide you through the next steps.

You will then be connected to a scheduling coordinator who will make an appointment that is convenient, answer questions you may have, and instruct you on the best way to deliver your medical documents in order to make your visit as smooth as possible.

Step Four: Gather Your Medical Records

In order to provide you with the most accurate diagnosis and the best care possible, we request that you obtain your medical records from your referring physician before your visit with us.

You records may include laboratory tests, reports, films or discs, pathology slides, and/ or other diagnostic tests. You will be instructed on what to collect and how to prepare for your first appointment when you call to schedule it.

Learn more about becoming a new patient at Penn by accessing these frequently asked questions.