Talking with healthcare providers about cancer can be overwhelming. It can be hard to take in all of the information. It helps to be prepared. Make a list of questions and bring them to your appointments. Write the answers down. Make sure you ask how the treatment will change your daily life, including your diet, and how you will look and feel after treatment. Ask how successful the treatment is expected to be, and what the risks and possible side effects are.
You may also want to ask a friend or family member to go with you. He or she can take notes and write down the answers, and also ask questions you may not think of. You can also ask your healthcare provider if you can record the conversation.
Below are some questions to ask during your appointments.
What is the grade and stage of my cancer?
Has the cancer spread anywhere else in my body?
What are my treatment choices?
What treatment do you think is best for me?
Will my ovaries need to be removed as part of treatment?
Will my lymph nodes be removed? How many and why?
What are the goals of the treatment you are recommending?
What is the success rate of this treatment for my type and stage of cancer?
How will I feel during treatment? Will treatment change my daily life?
Are there any long-term or permanent side effects I should know about?
Will treatment affect my ability to get pregnant or give birth?
What is the life expectancy for someone with my stage of cancer receiving this treatment?
Are there any clinical trials that I can apply for?
How much will treatment cost? Will my insurance cover it? How much will I have to pay for treatment?
Can you recommend another doctor who could give me a second opinion about my treatment options?
How long will it take to complete the treatment?
When does treatment need to start?
How long will each treatment take?
Where do I have to go for treatment?
Who will give me the treatment?
Does someone need to go with me during treatments?
Can I take my other medicines during treatment?
What can I do to be ready for treatment?
What side effects should I expect? Short term? Long term?
How long will side effects last? Will they ever go away?
Are there side effects that I need to call you about?
How do I reach you after hours and on weekends?
What can I do to ease the side effects?
Should I change my diet? What foods can't I eat?
Should I exercise? What type of exercise should I do?
Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?
Are there support groups nearby that I can join?
How will I feel after the treatment?
What can I expect my sex life to be like after treatment?
What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
Will I need more scans?
How will we know if treatment worked?
Am I at risk for lymphedema?