Updated 14 March 2017

How to access records

When you go for a diagnostic test or procedure let the person giving the test or procedure know that you would like a copy of the test results or procedure report.


When you go for a diagnostic test or procedure let the person giving the test or procedure know that you would like a copy of the test results or procedure report.

At each doctor appointment, ask for a copy of any new information added to your medical record. You may also want to write your own notes detailing what happened at every appointment.

If you spend time in a hospital, ask to take a copy of your medical record with you when you leave.

Remember, according to the HCPSA, the body that all doctors must be registered with in order to practice, a medical practitioner must provide any person with a copy or abstract or direct access to his or her own records on request.

If you have completed treatment, it is not too late to compile a personal medical record. Write to your healthcare practitioners ask for copies of your records.

What to keep

Keeping information about your health organised and easily accessible, such as in a journal, file, folders or 3-ring binder. Keep this information organised by date of the services received.

                                                                   Medical Information

  • Medical History
  1. Dates of diagnosis
  2. Diagnoses – includes the name of your cancer, the stage and grade of your disease.

        Remember to include where your cancer is located, whether it has spread to other parts of your body

  1. Medical Reports
  • pathology and laboratory test reports
  • diagnostic tests such as biopsy results, imaging tests (scans, x-rays, MRIs, etc.)
  • Treatments & Medications
  1. The names and dosages of any drugs you receive. Remember to record dosages for chemotherapy as well as sites and dosages for radiation therapy.
  2. Information about supportive care, including pain or nausea medications, drugs or procedures to treat other side effects, and other types of care such as occupational therapy or nutritional support
  3. The results of any treatments you receive and if you experienced and complications or side effects.
  • Contact Information
  1. Name and contact details of all the doctors treating you such as:
  • General Practitioner
  • Hospitals
  • Nurses
  • Oncologist
  • Physical and occupational therapists,
  • Physiologist/ psychiatrist
  • Radiologist
  • Social workers
  • Surgeons

                                                                  General Information

  • Employment Benefits
  1. Employment contract
  2. Company disability policies
  3. Leave entitlements
  • Insurance Policies
  1. Medical and hospital insurance
  2. Medical Scheme rules
  3. Life insurance
  4. Long-term disability insurance
  5. Short-term disability insurance
  6. Workers' compensation insurance
  • General Administrative
  1. Invoices for medical or treatment related expenses and receipt of any payments you made
  2. Personal financial records
  3. A Will. You should specify:
  • Who is to receive your assets
  • What the beneficiaries will receive
  • When the beneficiaries will receive the assets
  • How the distribution of your assets is to be done
  • State who you want to name as the guardian(s) of your children.

Information provided by Campaigning for Cancer

- (Health24, December 2011)


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CANSA’s purpose is to lead the fight against cancer in South Africa. Its mission is to be the preferred non-profit organisation that enables research, educates the public and provides support to all people affected by cancer. Questions are answered by CANSA’s Head of Health Professor Michael Herbst. For more information, visit

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