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Questions to ask your doctor

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2803
Joined: Jun 2010

Suggestion for Preparing in Advance for Medical Appointments:

  1. Make a list of questions to ask your doctor.  Below are a few suggested questions to ask.  You may also create a list that are specific to your own concerns or needs.

  2. Bring a tape recorder/or person with you to take notes

  3. Bring copies of lab reports, radiology reports, or have them provided to your physician in advance of the scheduled appointment by the facility you had them performed.

  4. Keep copies of all of your medical, pathology and radiology reports

  5. Ask about recovery time and length of treatment, so you may plan accordingly for work schedules and family care.

  6. A second opinion may help you make informed decisions about your care

Some questions I can ask my doctor are:

As you cope with cancer and cancer treatment, we encourage you to have honest, open talks with your doctor. Feel free to ask any question that's on your mind, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask. Be sure to add your own questions as you think of them. Nurses, social workers, and other members of the treatment team may also be able to answer many of your questions.

  • Would you please write down the exact type of cancer I have?

  • How does this affect my treatment options and outlook?

  • May I have a copy of my pathology report?

  • Has the cancer spread to my lymph nodes or other organs?

  • What is the stage of the cancer? What does that mean in my case?

  • Are there other tests that need to be done before we can decide on treatment?

  • What treatment choices do I have? What do you recommend? Why?

  • Should I think about genetic testing?

  • Should I look into taking part in a clinical trial?

  • What are the risks or side effects of different treatments?

  • What can I do to get ready for treatment?

  • How well can I expect breast reconstruction surgery to work if I need or want it?

  • What are the pros and cons of having it done right away or waiting until later?

  • What will my breasts look and feel like after treatment?

  • Will I have normal feeling in my breasts after treatment?

  • Will I lose my hair? If so, what can I do about it?

  • What are the chances of the cancer coming back with the treatment you suggest? What would we do if that happens?

  • Should I follow a special diet or make other lifestyle changes?

  • Will I go through menopause as a result of treatment?

  • Will I be able to have children after treatment?

  • What are my chances of survival, based on my cancer as you see it?

  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

Add your own questions below:

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

Good job!  Love it!!!!

New Flower
Posts: 4299
Joined: Aug 2009

Thank you Suzanne,

I wish I could have this list with me on Friday. Tape recorder is a great idea, you can listen your doctor over and over again. 

Rate of survival is a very tricky question.

good luck to everyone who is seeing oncologist for the first time

bonbondidit's picture
Posts: 104
Joined: Jul 2014

I am beyond scared but want to get in there and here everything. Tired of wandering at sea.

camul's picture
Posts: 2541
Joined: Dec 2010

much of this info when I was first diagnosed in 2002 and again in 2010! I still have not had all of these questions answered! One of the hardest things for me was asking the questions and not getting them answered. I have realized that my doctor didnt know all the answers, yet, I believe his ego stopped him from admitting this and asking collegues... I am so much better at accepting and acting on info when I feel educated.
Thank you for posting this list.

emilyw85's picture
Posts: 28
Joined: Jun 2014

Thank you for sharing this, it feels so much better when you are an active part of your cancer care team. 

Posts: 2
Joined: Jul 2014

This really isn't a question to ask the dr but rather info for them.  Bring along a history of family illnesses.  Not just cancer but everything, heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes etc.  this will help them to keep a better eye on you for reactions.  Another piece of info to take along is your meds, prescribed or over the counter, how many per day and dosage.  

Puffin2014's picture
Posts: 535
Joined: Jun 2014

Replying to this post to move it up to current time in the Forum

DebbyB's picture
Posts: 86
Joined: Nov 2011

Great list.  Thank you so much for putting it together!

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

Double Whammy is helping ...


Puffin2014's picture
Posts: 535
Joined: Jun 2014

bumping up

Puffin2014's picture
Posts: 535
Joined: Jun 2014

bumping topic up

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