Questions to Ask Your Doctor

We understand this is likely an overwhelming time, so we have compiled a list of questions that you may wish to ask your provider:

 

Your diagnosis

  • Do you typically treat patients with my diagnosis?
  • What stage is my cancer in?
  • Is there anything unique about my cancer that makes my prognosis better or worse?
  • Should I get a second opinion?

 

Treatment

  • What is the goal of treatment?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • How can each treatment option help me achieve my goal of therapy?
  • What risks or potential side effects are associated with each treatment option?
  • What research studies (clinical trials) are available?
  • Are there any clinical trials that are right for me?
  • How long will I receive treatment, how often, and where?
  • How will my treatment be given?
  • How might a disruption in my chemotherapy dose or timing affect my results?
  • How and when will I be able to tell whether the treatment is working?
  • What are the names of all the drugs I will be taking?
  • Can I talk with another patient who has received this treatment?
  • Are there any resources or websites you recommend for more information?

 

Tests

  • What types of lab tests will I need?
  • Will I need X-rays and scans?
  • Can you explain the results of my complete blood count (CBC)?
  • Are there tests for the genetic makeup of my cancer?
  • Will I benefit from having my cancer evaluated for its genetic makeup?
  • How frequently will I get tested?

 

Side effects of treatment

  • What possible side effects should I prepare for?
  • When might they start?
  • Will they get better or worse as my treatment goes along?
  • How can I prepare for them or lessen their impact?
  • Are there treatments that can help relieve the side effects? What are they? Do you usually recommend or prescribe them?
  • Which risks are most serious?
  • Will I require blood transfusions?
  • How can I best monitor myself for complications related to either my disease or my treatment?

 

Protecting against infection

  • Will my type of chemotherapy put me at risk for a low white blood cell count and infection?
  • Can I help protect myself against infection right from the start of chemotherapy, rather than waiting until problems develop?
  • Am I at special risk for infection?
  • What are the signs of infection?
  • How serious is an infection?
  • How long will I be at risk for infection?
  • What should I do if I have a fever?
  • How are infections treated?

 

Daily activities

  • How will my cancer treatment affect my usual activities?
  • Will I be able to work?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital?
  • Will I need someone to help me at home?
  • Will I need help taking care of my kids?
  • Are there any activities I should avoid during my chemotherapy?

 

What to expect after treatment

  • What happens after I complete my treatment?
  • How can I best continue to monitor myself for complications related to either my disease or my treatment?
  • What kind of lab tests will I need?
  • How frequently should I get those lab tests?
  • What types of x-rays and scans will I need?
  • How often do I need to come in for checkups?
  • When will you know if I am in remission?
  • What happens if my disease comes back?