Suggested Questions for Patients

What should I ask my cancer doctor?

   These questions are suggestions. Dont feel you have to ask all of them. Some questions may not apply to you or your situation. They are meant as a guideline for questions that may help you gain information that is important to you.



What type of __________ do I have?

Where is my _________ located?

Has it spread (metastasized) to other parts of my body?

What stage is my _________?



What test will I have done?

When should I expect to hear the results from these tests?

What will these tests tell me about my ____________?

How long after I have these tests will I know the results?

Who will call me with the results of these tests? Should I call to obtain the results?

If I need to get copies of my records, scans, X-rays, who do I contact?



Did you consult with anyone before determining this diagnosis? If so, with whom?

What will their role be in my treatment?

How many physicians and who will be involved in my care? What are their roles and who will be the primary physician in charge of my care?

Will I have surgery? If so, what are my options for surgery?

If Breast Cancer, What about immediate breast reconstruction at the time of my mastectomy?

What are the types of reconstruction available to me?

Do the types of reconstruction vary by physician?

May I see pictures of your surgical work?

What does this diagnosis mean to my mother, sister, and daughter?



What is the standard treatment for my type of _____________?

What is the prognosis for my type of ______________ with standard treatment?

Are there any other treatments that might be appropriate for my type of __________?

What treatment do you recommend and what is that recommendation based on?

What are the risks or benefits of the treatment that you are recommending?

How many patients (percentage) usually respond to this type of treatment?

How long does each treatment last?

How will I receive my treatment? Is it a pill? Is it an intravenous infusion?

What will it feel like to get treatment?

Can someone accompany me to my treatment?

If I need to stay overnight at the hospital to get my treatment, can someone stay with me?

Can I drive to and from my appointments? To and from my treatments?

Can I stay alone after my treatments or do I need to have someone stay with me?

Will I have to be in the hospital to get my treatment?

Who will administer my treatment?

How often, during treatment, will I see the physician and/or the nurse?

What will happen if I decide not to be treated?

How quickly must I decide about treatment?



What are the side effects of this treatment?

Will I have

Nausea/vomiting (emesis, anticipatory nausea/vomiting)

Hair loss (alopecia)

Low blood cell counts (anemia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia)


Skin changes

Mouth sores

Sore throat

Nervous system problems

When might these side effects occur?

How will these side effects present to me?

What should I be looking for?

How long will they last?

Could they be life threatening?

If I lose my hair, will it come back?



What treatments are available to manage any side effects I might have?



Are these supportive therapies available and appropriate for me?

What should I do if I have side effects?

Who do I call?

Will a reduction or delay in my chemotherapy reduce my chances of survival?

Are there any medications I should not take while Im going through treatment?

Are there any activities I should not do during/after treatment?

How soon after treatment can I resume my normal activity?

Can I continue to work during my treatment?



Are there any long term or permanent side effects of this treatment?

Are there clinical trials or research being done with my type of ____________?

Are you involved in ____________research?

Would I be a candidate for clinical research if it is a treatment option for me?

Where might I find out more about research in my type of ____________?

Is there anyone else in the area that is involved in research I might contact and talk with about my type of __________?



How much will my treatment cost?

Will my insurance company pay for my treatment?

Is there someone in your office that assists patients with questions about insurance? With reimbursement? Who might that be?

If my insurance does not pay for a particular medication that might be beneficial to me, will you choose an alternate treatment? Even if it might be less effective?

Do you have access to pharmaceutical patient assistance programs I could access if I cannot afford a particular medication or my insurance will not pay for a particular medication?

How can I get treatment if I do not have insurance?



How do I tell my family, children, and friends about my ___________?

Are you willing to speak with key family members about my __________ and my treatment?

Are there support groups for my diagnosis? For my family and friends?

Is there access to a social worker?

Is there access to a dietician if I have nutritional concerns or difficulties?

Do I need to be on a special diet?

Do I need to change my lifestyle in anyway now that I have ___________?

Can I have sex?

What type of precautions do I need to take?

Who do I call if I have an emergency?

What are the phone numbers I should have in order to reach you? The nurse? The hospital?



If treatment is not successful what are the options available for care?

What is Hospice?

Is Hospice an option? What is involved in signing onto a Hospice program?

When should a decision about entering a hospice program be made - and who should make it?

Should I wait for our physician to raise the possibility of hospice, or should I raise it first?

Can a hospice patient who shows signs of recovery be returned to regular medical treatment?

How many family members or friends does it take to care for a patient at home?

Must someone be with the patient at all times?

What specific assistance does hospice provide home-based patients?

Does hospice do anything to make death come sooner?

Is caring for the patient at home the only place hospice care can be delivered?

How will pain be "managed"?

Will medications prevent the patient from being able to talk or know what's happening?

If the patient is eligible for Medicare, will there be any additional expense to be paid?

If Medicare or any other health insurance does not cover the patient, will hospice still provide care?

Does hospice provide any help to the family after the patient dies? -+

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