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Questions for oncologist

Cinkal's picture
Posts: 161
Joined: Jan 2011

I am going for my first consultation with the oncologist on Thursday. I am beginning to write down questions to ask her. I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on what questions I should be asking. I would appreciate any input.


CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

You are doing much better than I was when I was first diagnosed--I think I was so in shock that it never occurred to me to ask much.

If you haven't received a copy of your path report (assuming that you've had a biopsy), you might ask for one. You might also bring a little notepad to jot down what she tells you, because, if you are still in shock, you will forget everything as soon as you leave her office.

After you know you're type of cancer and proposed treatment, you will begin to learn more. You might ask about common adverse effects of any treatment, but I personally don't like to hear much about them as I am afraid that I will then begin looking for them ;-).

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

I always ask about the best way to get questions answered once I get home...invariably I will have one.

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

brought extra ears...to listen and hear things I may have not..(once got going I know a blur)

I never rec'd path. report-still to this day I am clueless (3 yrs this month)

missrenee's picture
Posts: 2137
Joined: Apr 2010

my husband and best friend (who is in the healthcare field). There is so much information, I knew I wouldn't hear and absorb everything. Even though my treatment was pretty straight forward as to what had to be done, I asked my oncologist this question--"If I were your sister, what treatment would you recommend?"

I also brought a written list of questions--length of treatment, how long for each one, any dos and don'ts as far as my activities, eating habits, any drugs/supplements I should or should not be taking during chemo. She did not go into lengthy descriptions of side effects--she said everyone was different and I may or may not have the same side effects as the patient next to me. But she did say, she had a remedy for most of the side effects I could encounter.

Wishing you the best of luck. You'll get through this with flying colors--attitude is everything.

Hugs, Renee

susie09's picture
Posts: 2933
Joined: Jul 2009

Be sure and have someone else there, as, sometimes we don't hear everything. Some even take tape recorders.

And, get your pathology report and have your onco explain it to you. I am sure he will go over your future treatments, so, make sure you fully understand.

Good luck to you!


jessiesmom1's picture
Posts: 874
Joined: Jun 2010

As other posters have suggested, it is absolutely a good idea to have someone go with you especially when so much info is being given at the beginning. Besides that, here are some questions that may be helpful.

10 Questions to Ask the Medical Oncologist

1. Why are you recommending this therapy?
2. What are the risks?
3. Are there other ways to treat the cancer?
4. Where do I go for chemotherapy or hormone therapy?
5. Will I be able to drive myself home after treatment, or do I need help?
6. How long does the treatment last?
7. What are the risks and side effects?
8. Will my hair fall out? Will it grow back?
9. What about premature menopause and infertility?
10. What should I avoid during treatment?
11. Should I change my diet or lifestyle?

10 Questions to Ask the Cancer Surgeon

1. Why are you recommending this procedure?
2. What are the risks? How do they compare with the benefits?
3. How do I prepare for surgery?
4. What type of anesthesia will I have?
5. What happens during and right after surgery?
6. Who do I talk to about breast reconstruction?
7. How long will I be in the hospital?
8. Are there any complications?
9. When can I go back to work and resume normal activities?
10. What are the risks of lymphedema?
11. Will I have any problems with the range of motion in my shoulder? Should I be referred to a Physical Therapist?

10 Questions to Ask the Radiation Oncologist

1. What is the goal of radiation therapy?
2. Does radiation affect fertility?
3. What are the risks and side effects?
4. Where do I go for radiation therapy?
5. How long does each session last?
6. How many weeks does treatment last?
7. Does radiation therapy make me radioactive?
8. What should I avoid during treatment?
9. Should I change my diet or lifestyle?
10. Does radiation therapy affect having breast reconstruction?

Welcome to the club you never wanted to be a member of. I wish you the very best of luck.

Cinkal's picture
Posts: 161
Joined: Jan 2011

Thanks everyone for the advice.

JuJuBeez's picture
Posts: 332
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Cin! How did your appointment go today? I've been thinking about you all day, and just wanted to let you know! xoxo

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