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Questions to ask for the first Oncology appt

jdr1017's picture
Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2010

Tomorrow is my father-in-law's first oncology appt. since being diagnosed. What questions should we be asking? Right now we are just a little too overwhelmed to be thinking clearly about what to ask. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

paul61's picture
Posts: 1250
Joined: Apr 2010


20 Questions to ask your oncologist

1. Have you reviewed the test results and staging information for my diagnosis? Do you agree it is complete? What is my specific staging (TxNxMx)?
2. Do you feel there are any additional tests that should be run prior to defining a treatment plan? (e.g HER2 testing, tumor tissue evaluation for targeted treatments)
3. Esophageal cancer is relatively rare. How many cases have you seen and treated?
4. Why are you recommending this particular treatment?
5. Are there other treatment options available for this cancer, and what are the pros and cons of each?
6. Is there any written material about the recommended treatment that we can take home to read?
7. What are the goals of this treatment, and what is the success rate?
8. How long will the treatment last?
9. What are the risks of this treatment?
10. What are the “typical” side effects of this treatment?
11. What are your approaches to manage the side effects? Is IV hydration available as needed?
12. Is there a way to reach a medical professional in your office 24 hours a day 7 days a week? (If the answer is “no” think about finding another oncologist).
13. How do we know if a side effect is severe enough to warrant calling you?
14. What do we need to do to prepare for this treatment?
15. Is there anything that's important to avoid before or during treatment?
16. Can you tell us what to expect during treatment -- where does it take place, how long does each session last?
17. How do patients typically feel after treatment, both immediately afterward and in the days that follow?
18. What's the best way for us to contact you when we have more questions about the treatment? Can we communicate via email?
19. How will we gage the success of the treatment as we progress through the process?
20. Are there any new treatment options or clinical trials we should be aware of?

Best Regards,

Paul Adams
McCormick, South Carolina

DX 10/22/2009 T2N1M0 Stage IIB
12/03/2009 Ivor Lewis
2/8 through 6/14/2010 Adjuvant Chemo Cisplatin, Epirubicin, 5 FU
6/21/2010 CT Scan NED

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance!

Boston67's picture
Posts: 67
Joined: Dec 2010

Thabnk you for the 20 questions. Keith

Tina Blondek's picture
Tina Blondek
Posts: 1566
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello and welcome to our ec family. I was a caregiver for my dad. He passed in March from ec with mets to the liver. He was in remission for one year. I would definitely print Paul's response, those are 20 great questions. I will add that what helped us was to have a journal. Not only did we all communicate through this daily, we wrote all of our questions and answers here. You will definitely have to look back on this information. The journal helped us all express our thoughts and feelings. It was easier to write them down, than to talk about them. The journal served as a wonderful emotional tool. Now that Dad has passed, mom and I have this journal to look back on and reminisce. Mom and I still continue to write in our journal. It has helped us get through our grieving process. Best of luck to your father in law. This is a cancer that can be survived, there are plenty survivors here on this discussion board! Stay in touch. We will always be here for you.
Tina in Va

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