What to Expect

We are here for you and want you to be as comfortable as possible as you begin your care with us.

We have outlined what typically happens during your first visit and the types of procedures that may take place throughout your treatment at UNC.

Your First Visit

Urologic Oncology ProgramYour first visit to the Urologic Oncology Multidisciplinary Clinic may take about 3 hours. You may be scheduled to see doctors from urologic surgery, medical oncology, and radiation oncology. You may also have tests and meet with nurses, a patient counselor or other support service providers.

It is important that we obtain your pertinent medical records including radiology reports and actual scans, lab reports, pathology slides, and medical summaries. We do our best to obtain these records prior to your visit.

Please bring the following to your clinic appointment:

  • Your physician's name, address and phone number.
  • Your patient identification card if you have been seen before at UNC
  • Your insurance card and any other related forms required by your insurance company
  • Any medications you are taking or a list of these medications and the dosages.

New patient appointments and tests are usually scheduled before noon, so physicians can discuss each case at the 1:00 p.m. treatment planning conference (link to treatment planning conference page). Some patients will remain in the clinic and meet with their physician in the afternoon. Others may go home and speak with a doctor or nurse later in the day to discuss their treatment plan.

Once a treatment plan is formed, a nurse navigator will be appointed according to the diagnosis and treatment plan. Your nurse navigator will work with other team members to personally manage your care. Treatment procedures and side effects will be explained and your options may include:

  • The opportunity to participate in a clinical research trial
  • Surgery: the date will be set, and you will be taught what to expect
  • Chemotherapy: You will be taught what to expect and how to manage care at home
  • Radiation treatment: You may be scheduled for simulation, which uses x-ray images to precisely locate and mark the target treatment area. After simulation, you will receive the date and time for treatment to begin.
  • Meeting with a genetic counselor

The nurse navigator will follow your case and ensure continuity in your care as you see multiple cancer specialists and receive different types of treatment for your cancer. A consultation letter will be sent to the patient's referring physician within 48 hours of the initial visit to inform him/her of the patient's treatment plan.  In some cases, components of the treatment plan will be coordinated with local physicians to minimize travel burdens.

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Diagnostic Procedures and Treatment Information

The Urologic Oncology Program offers the most up-to-date advances in diagnostic tools, surgical techniques, and medical and radiation therapies.

Diagnostic procedures available include:

  • Ultrasound-guided needle biopsy of the prostate
  • Endoscopic diagnostics, i.e. cystoscopy, ureteroscopy, etc.
  • Specialized ultrasound for identifying testicular tumors
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Uropathology
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Bone scan
  • Multidetector computerized tomography (CT) scanners, which allow near real time 3D display of tumors and surrounding anatomy.

Surgery procedures available include:

  • Laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgical procedures for some prostate, bladder or kidney cancers performed through tiny muscle-sparing incisions via video-assisted surgery pioneered at UNC.
  • Prostatectomy (surgical removal of the prostate)
  • Cystectomy (surgical removal of the bladder) with construction of urinary conduits and new bladders
  • Nephrectomy (surgical removal of the kidney or part of the kidney)
  • Orchiectomy and retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for testicular cancer
  • Nerve-sparing surgery to preserve potency is available to men with prostate cancer.
  • Endoscopic surgical procedures
  • Interventional radiologists with significant experience in percutaneous and intraoperative ablation techniques cooperate with your urologist

For more information on urologic surgery, click hereIcon indicating that a link will open an external site.

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Radiation Oncology

  • The latest radiation technologies for genitourinary cancers, including 3D conformal radiation, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), Cyberknife radiation, and brachytherapy.
  • The most advanced radiation technologies to treat prostate cancer, including the use of the Calypso tracking system and Cyberknife radiation to target the prostate most accurately.
  • The use of radiation and chemotherapy to treat bladder cancer as an alternative to cystectomy (bladder removal).

For more information on radiation therapy, click hereIcon indicating that a link will open an external site.

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Medical Oncology

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Support Services

UNC Lineberger and UNC Cancer Care are proud to provide a full range of support services for patients, caregivers and survivors. Our staff can assist patients and families needing assistance with local navigation and places to stay during treatment. The UNC Comprehensive Cancer Support Program offers services ranging from information and education to nutritional support, counseling, peer support groups, complementary and alternative therapies, and integrative medicine consultations. Carolina Well Icon indicating that a link will open an external site., UNC Lineberger’s cancer survivorship program, is one of eight Lance Armstrong Foundation Survivorship Centers of Excellence in the United States. Click here to find out more about our Support Services.

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