Questions For Your Doctor

Asking questions if you do not understand an aspect of treatment or the terms your doctors are using is very important. You have the right to understand medical terms and treatment options. And, you should make sure that you communicate your beliefs and expectations about treatment to your doctor.  

Make sure you feel comfortable with your doctor's level of expertise. Do not hesitate to ask how many cancer surgeries your surgeon performs each year. Consider your doctors communication style and whether it fits well with yours. Are you comfortable with your doctor's approach to treatment? Will your surgeon connect you with other key members of a cancer team, such as an oncologist, nurse, and/or social worker?

Treatment Questions To Ask Your Doctor

Although many treatment options have similar potential outcomes, their side effects can vary widely. It can be helpful and important for you, as an active participant in your cancer care, to become informed about side effects before you select your treatment program. This is one of the most important conversations you will have with your oncologist.

Some useful questions to consider asking are:

  • What is your goal for therapy? 
  • What does your doctor believe your goal for therapy should be? 
  • What are the anticipated benefits of each treatment option? 
  • What side effects and lifeystyle changes are likely with each treatment recommended? 
  • How likely is it that I will have those side effects? 
  • How mild or severe could they be , and how long could they last? 
  • How will the potential side effects be prevented or managed, so they do not interrupt my treatment schedule or reduce my quality of life?

Testing Questions

Testing is an important part of learning more about your cancer. It is used to find out more about the type, the stage and sucess of treatments.

Following are a series of questions you may want to ask your doctor before you get tests:

  • Which procedure to you recommend? 
  • How will the tissue be removed? 
  • How does the test work? 
  • How long will it take? 
  • Will I be awake? 
  • Will it hurt? 
  • Will I have to stay in the hospital? 
  • If so, for how long? 
  • Will I have to do anything to prepare for it? 
  • How long will it take? 
  • Will I be awake? 
  • Will it hurt? 
  • Are there any risks? 
  • What is the chance that the procedure will make my lung collapse? 
  • What are the chances of infection or bleeding after the procedure? 
  • How long will it take me to recover? 
  • How soon will I know the results? 
  • Who will explain them to me? 
  • If I do have cancer, who will talk to me about the next steps? 

You may find that you never have enough time during office visits to ask all of the questions or let the doctor know what is on your mind. One of the best ways to improve communication with your health care team is to prepare your visits so that you can best make use of the time.

Making a Treatment Decision

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