(509) 228-1000 WA
(208) 754-3100 ID

Frequently Asked Questions


Prior to your first appointment, we ask that you look at the New Patient Kit and complete the appropriate questionnaire. Please be sure to bring the completed questionnaire to your first appointment. If you are not able to download and print your own copy, please call 509-228-1000 to request a hard copy. We would be happy to assist you. 

What can I expect during my first visit? How long will it take?

During your initial visit, you will probably receive a thorough physical exam in addition to your consultation with your doctor. Please plan to stay one to two hours for your first visit. Learn more about what to expect during your first visit.

How soon can I be seen by a physician?

Cancer Care Northwest will work to get you in as soon as possible. Most new patient consultations can be made within 24-48 hours, however some requests may take longer to get you scheduled, including: - Requesting a specific physician - Requesting a specific clinic - Delays in receiving medical records
- etc.

Do I have to bring someone with me?

While it is not necessary to have someone accompany you, we recommend it. You will be given a lot of information, both written and verbal. It is often helpful to have someone else along to help process the information and clarify any questions or concerns. It is very unlikely that any procedures will be performed on your first visit that will require someone to drive you home.

Can I eat before I come for my first visit or do I need to fast?

The lab work we perform initially does not require fasting, so you may eat anytime prior to your arrival.

Can I bring my children to my appointment?

For your children’s safety and for the health of our patients who may have suppressed immune systems, we ask that you not bring small children with you when you come for your clinic visits. Children are not allowed in the chemotherapy suite.

Do you need all of my medical records for my first visit?

Yes. It is very important to have all of your prior records and actual films for our doctors to review during this first consultation. This is especially true when second opinions are being requested. Please contact your primary care physician a few days prior to your appointment with us to make certain all pertinent material has been sent.

What is the first visit going to cost and who can I talk to about financial arrangements?

There are patient advocates available to answer your questions regarding your first visit, ongoing treatment, and financial responsibilities. We understand that there are many who are not insured and may be paying out of pocket and just cannot afford the services provided by a specialist. Our trained patient advocates will help you find extra financial resources so you can get the services you need.

Can you bill me for my co-pay?

Patients receiving care at our facilities will need to make their co-pay at the time of their visit, unless this has been worked out with one of our patient advocates.

Do you need to know what medications I am taking, even though my primary care doctor prescribed them? What about supplements I may be taking?

For your own safety, it is extremely important for us to know what medications, supplements, herbs and vitamins you are taking at all times so that we do not give you a medication that conflicts with your current prescriptions or supplements. First-time patients should bring bottles or a complete listing of medications, supplements and doses. Inform the nurse of any changes in what you are taking throughout your treatment.

Your Treatment

How long will each session of my chemotherapy treatment take?

Chemotherapy treatment varies in length and frequency and depends on the individual treatment plan prescribed by your doctor. Some last as long as three or four hours, while others may only take a half-hour. Your doctor can provide an estimate of the time involved during your first consultation. Because of the effects of chemotherapy, you will receive regular blood work to make sure a chemotherapy session can be performed. This blood work is often performed the day before your scheduled chemotherapy visit. Sometimes the chemo therapy visit will be cancelled due to your blood levels. 

 What should I do if I experience a medical problem?

Please contact us at the clinic where you are receiving treatment. During regular office hours, the person answering the phone will take your name, phone number and the nature of your problem. A clinic nurse will return your call as soon as possible to discuss your concerns.

If you are experiencing extreme symptoms and feel your condition may be life threatening, you will receive immediate attention. Please alert the person answering the phone about your condition. They will forward you immediately to a nurse who will consult with your doctor if needed.

Our physicians are available 24 hours a day for after-hour emergencies. If you experience a problem after normal business hours, please contact us at the clinic where you are normally treated. Our answering service will take your name and phone number, and the on-call physician will contact you shortly to discuss your concerns.

Can I call the clinic for prescription refills?

Please try to call for prescription refills before 4 p.m. to give us time to process your request. If you are requesting a controlled substance, please try to call before 3 p.m. All controlled substances must be picked up in person by the patient or a family member.

How long does it take to get test results back?

While some tests are preformed in-house and results available within an hour, others may be done at outside facilities and it may take several days before we have the results. Please plan on three to four days before checking with us.

About Cancer Care Northwest

What services do you provide?

We are the only fully integrated cancer treatment center in the Inland Northwest, offering a complete range of services at one location for the convenience of our patients. CT scans, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, surgical oncology pre-op and post-op care, and lab work are all available at our North and Spokane Valley clinics. Our South clinic offers lab work, chemotherapy, surgical oncology pre-op and post-op care, and PET/CT imaging procedures. Radiation oncology follow-up care is provided at our Downtown clinic. Several of our physicians rotate at clinics, so while a service may not be available at that site, access to a physician is possible.

Additionally, through a unique medical collaboration with Providence Health Care and Kootenai Health, known as The Alliance for Cancer Care, we’re able to provide the region’s most advanced radiation oncology procedures using the Elekta Linear Accelerator at clinics in Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene, and within Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

We recognize that throughout the course of treatment, many patients need assistance in areas other than their medical care. Cancer Care Northwest has full-time licensed therapists to assist patients and their families during their healing journey. Support groups are also available. Additional support services include nutrition counseling and financial counseling. Our Patient Navigators, Stem Cell Transplant Coordinator and Certified Nutritionist are also available to provide extra patient guidance. 

We encourage you to visit the Your Cancer and Treatment section of this site to get better acquainted with our services. 

Do your doctors specialize in specific cancers?

Our doctors are qualified to treat all forms of cancers and blood disorders. Some of our physicians have a special interest in certain types of cancers, but they also treat other cancers and blood disorders as well. Our surgical oncology team offers special expertise in breast surgery, melanoma surgery, sarcoma surgery and gastrointestinal surgery. 

Our staff will consult with your primary care physician at the time of referral to determine which doctor is best able to meet your medical needs.