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Cancer Questions to Ask Your Doctor

How do I choose an Oncologist?

  • Is the oncologist board certified?
  • How much experience does he or she have in treating that specific type of cancer?
  • Do you feel comfortable talking with this doctor? Does he or she listen well?
  • Is the staff compassionate? Is the environment a good one or do you feel rushed?
  • What hospital(s) does this oncologist see patients in?
  • What are the office hours?
  • What if you have an emergency? Can you call?
  • Can this doctor be contacted after hours?

Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor

  • What is my diagnosis?
  • What is my prognosis?
  • Has my cancer spread?
  • What stage is cancer?
  • How is treatment likely to help in my case?
  • What are all my treatment options?
  • Which treatment do you recommend and why?
  • What is the goal of the treatment you recommend?
  • What are the long term and short term side effects of treatment, and how can I manage them?
  • How would treatment affect my daily life?
  • How much experience do you have with this type of treatment?
  • How experienced is the hospital in treating people with this cancer?
  • Should I be referred to a cancer center for treatment?
  • Should I think about taking part in a clinical trial? Am I eligible for clinical trials?
  • Based on what you've learned about my cancer, what is my prognosis?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • Will my fertility or ability to have children be affected?
  • How can I keep myself as healthy as possible during treatment?
  • Where can I find help with financial concerns?
  • Where can I find help with lodging or transportation?
  • What will my follow-up care plan include?
  • When can I call myself a survivor?

What are my treatment options?

What are my surgery options?

  • What type of surgery am I going to have? Why is it recommended?
  • How long will I be in the hospital?
  • What care or help will I need once I go home from the hospital?
  • How will I feel after the surgery? How long will it be before I can resume my normal activities?
  • Are there some common side effects after this type of surgery?
  • Where will the surgical scar be? Will it fade over time?
  • What risks are associated with this surgery?
  • What treatments will I need after the surgery?
  • When will I find out the results of the surgery?
  • How long before I have a follow-up appointment?
  • Where can I find a cancer support group?