Questions to Ask Your Doctor When You Have Cancer


If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with cancer, you may feel you need more information about many aspects of the disease and its treatment. The following is a list of questions you may want to ask your doctor. Add to this list any others you have, too. Be sure to bring a pen and paper to your doctor visit so you can make notes about the doctor’s answers.

Questions about your diagnosis

•What kind of cancer do I have?
•Did it start there or did it spread from somewhere else in my body?
•What stage is the cancer (how far has it progressed)?
•How fast does this kind of cancer usually grow and spread?
•Is it a common kind of cancer?
Questions about treatment

•What are my treatment options?
•Can the cancer be removed through surgery?
•Will I need chemotherapy and/or radiation? If so:

◦How long will I need to go for chemotherapy and/or radiation?
◦What side effects should I expect?
◦What can I do to avoid or reduce these side effects?
◦Will I be able to work during my treatment?
◦What will happen to me if I don’t have this treatment?
•Are there any clinical trials you would recommend that I join? How can I do this?
•Is there a type of diet I should follow? Are there certain foods I should or should not eat?
•What should I do to prepare for my treatment(s)?
•When and where will my treatment begin?
•Do you treat a lot of people with this type of cancer?
•Should I go to a special cancer center for my treatment?
Questions about what to expect

•How long will it take me to recover from treatment and resume my usual activities and exercise?
•What have the success rates been for this type of treatment?
•What are my chances for a full recovery?
•What tests will I need to know if the treatment is working? How often will I need them?
•Does this type of cancer run in families? Should my family be checked?

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