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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?
- 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?