First contact

initial consultation

Once the patient is registered for radiotherapy by the attending doctor, they will receive an appointment for an initial consultation (either by post or telephone). On the day of the appointment, the patient must register at reception and will then be personally collected from the Hirslanden clinic waiting room by the attending doctor. It is advisable to bring along a family member, partner or friend to the initial consultation if possible.

Determining the treatment strategy

During the initial consultation, the doctor will explain the planned course of treatment and answer any questions. The patient will again be requested to answer questions about their illness and will be examined by the doctor if necessary. This part of the process is essential, because a description or letter of referral from the patient’s doctor to the radiotherapy department is no substitute for a face-to-face discussion and examination. Furthermore, it’s possible that the cancer may have changed or developed since the last examination.

Assessing the present situation

In order to provide the correct treatment, the radio-oncologist must first precisely assess the current situation. Additional examinations may be required before the commencement of the radiotherapy treatment. It is also important to know whether the patient suffers from other illnesses which may influence the radiotherapy. In any case, the examining doctor will discuss all the details with the patient and explain any additional procedures that might be necessary. The examining doctor should also be informed of any medication currently being taken by the patient, as well as any other treatment the patient is undergoing.

Side effects?

The doctor will also discuss the possible side effects of the therapy and try to explain the entire therapy plan. The doctor will also fully explain any further examinations, check-ups or treatment that may be necessary after the radiotherapy.


The patient should ask any questions they may have about the upcoming radiotherapy. It is advisable to make a note of such questions before the appointment, so these can be answered by the doctor at the institute. Please do not hesitate to call and ask any questions you think of later – your doctor will be happy to help.

Aim of the initial consultation

The initial consultation gives the patient and doctor an opportunity get to know one another. The patient will also receive detailed information, which will help to resolve any understandable concerns or fears regarding the impending treatment. And most importantly, the patient is given the opportunity to accept or decline the proposed therapy. Radiotherapy will only be carried out if the patient expressly chooses to undertake the treatment. 

The way forward

Normally, radiotherapy treatment is not carried out at the time of the initial consultation. After the discussion and examination, which will take around an hour, the patient is able to go home. If the patient has decided to proceed with radiotherapy, further appointments will be arranged. If the patient has not made a final decision with regard to treatment, we recommend that they discuss the matter with someone they trust (family member, their GP, etc.) and let us know later once a decision has been made. 

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