I'm translating a sample discharge summary into English. The summary describes the tests the person was subjected to (ultrasound, Spiral CT scan, etc) and some treatments he/she received. It is clear that a tumor has been discovered in the course of the person's hospital stay. However, the hospital does not specialise in oncological treatment.

The last part of the summary is titled "Recommendations":

- consult at an oncology center (bring your histology slides)
- register with an oncologist

I'm looking for a naturally-sounding phrase for this action.

In Russian, it does not mean you register with a specific person (doctor). You register with "the oncologist" generally in some clinic, most often the nearest to your home. Later on, the particular doctor who first received you in the office may be absent, and you will be allowed to visit another oncologist who works at the same clinic.

The key thing is, they create an 'oncologist' file which they update with each visit, keeping track of your condition, your treatments etc.

Will "register with [doctor speciality]" fit for the purpose, or do I need some other phrase?

I found a discussion of the same issue by native speakers of Russian, and they basically build their phrases around the verb "register".

The Russian original is:

- консультация в онкодиспансере со стёклами (literally: "a consultation at an oncology center with glasses" \ meaning: a single visit)
- встать на учет к онкологу (literally: "enroll for an oncologist's record-keeping" \ I know it sounds weird)

I've just recalled the verb "enroll". "Enroll in a continuous follow-up course at an oncologist's office"?

P.S. I've got 2 suggestions:

  • get regular check-ups with an oncologist

  • follow-up by oncologist

  • @Rathony - they do advise the person to consult with an oncologist (see the first recommendation). However, they also advise the person to become a regular attendee of an oncology office in some clinic, for specialized testing/treatment purposes. There is a difference between a single consultation and "registering for a prolonged follow-up course". By prolonged I mean years, possibly on to the person's demise; with multiple visits. Commented May 28, 2016 at 12:55
  • @Rathony - you register with a paricular specialty section in a clinic. They start a file on you. In idiomatic Russian, that's "register with an oncologist". Indeed, you can "consult" once at the same clinic without them starting a file on you. You can just pay cash on the nail, ask "do these histology slides look okay?", and go away feeling relieved or dismayed. That was a single consultation (recommended in the first line). (0: Commented May 28, 2016 at 13:07
  • @Rathony - they might start some internal file on you even after a single visit, but you won't be considered "attached" to that particular office\clinic. You just visited for a single consultation. When you "register at an oncologist", you're kind of "attached" to that particular office. Commented May 28, 2016 at 13:12
  • I think "register with an oncologist" is OK. Or "Please make an appointment with an oncologist" - although that could imply only one appointment, the hospital doctor should provide a brief explanation at the time of discharge to be sure the patient understands the seriousness of the situation and the need for ongoing monitoring.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 14:40
  • 3
    "Find an oncologist who is willing to work with you on an on-going basis" is one way to naturally phrase the statement. Both "register" and "enroll" have mildly negative connotations in American English when referring to medical examination and treatment. We are very keen on the privacy of our medical information. However, "register" and "enroll" are both commonly used to mean signing up for classes at an educational institution, and when so used have no negative connotations at all. Commented May 28, 2016 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


Difficult to offer translation advice without knowing the medical system in question and without knowing the purpose of the translation and who it is designed for.

But in America, a patient who has not been referred to an oncologist in the system would be told on a discharge summary to "see an oncologist" or to "consult an oncologist" or to "follow up with an oncologist". The patient might be advised to "visit a cancer center" or to "seek treatment" at a cancer center.

We would not say consult at a cancer center. Patients do not "consult at". Doctors "consult at". To "consult at" is to offer professional services/expertise at some institution. Dr. Smith is on the faculty at _____ University Medical School and consults at ____ Cancer Center.

Which verb would be chosen would be up to hospital administration. If they were making attempts to use everyday words in a spirit of being "patient-friendly", they would choose "see", which is is somewhat less formal than "consult", though it is perfectly idiomatic in medical contexts.

You should see a doctor about that.

Are you seeing a specialist?

  • Thank you! It's interesting that 'consult' is a wrong word. Can't a person "visit for a consultation with a doctor"? Commented May 28, 2016 at 15:33
  • 2
    Consult isn't wrong. A patient can consult a doctor. "Consult at" means to provide advice, not to seek advice. The object of "at" would be a place, institution, enterprise, etc.
    – TimR
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 15:34
  • Interesting. I changed it to "consultation at an oncology center". Commented May 28, 2016 at 15:40
  • 2
    Since this is (typically) an instruction given to the patient, an imperative verb is superior to a noun, IMO. Also, we don't consult a place/institution. Consult an oncologist. Seek an opinion at a cancer center. P.S. I checked a couple of local nationally renowned cancer centers and they use the phrase "Seek an opinion at ______"
    – TimR
    Commented May 28, 2016 at 15:47
  • Thank you for top-notch translation advice. (I wrote "a top-notch translation advice", but then recalled that we don't use the article there; the word is countable in Russian) Commented May 28, 2016 at 16:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .