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Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Your Treatment

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Senior patient having an appointment at doctor's office
Credit: iStock

 You may want to ask your doctor some of the following questions before you decide on your cancer treatment. 

Questions about Cancer Treatment

  • What are the ways to treat my type and stage of cancer?
  • What are the benefits and risks of each of these treatments?
  • What treatment do you recommend? Why do you think it is best for me?
  • When will I need to start treatment?
  • Will I need to be in the hospital for treatment? If so, for how long?
  • What is my chance of recovery with this treatment? 
  • How will we know if the treatment is working?
  • Would a clinical trial (research study) be right for me?
  • How do I find out about studies for my type and stage of cancer?

Questions about Finding a Specialist and Getting a Second Opinion

  • Will I need a specialist(s) for my cancer treatment?
  • Will you help me find a doctor to give me another opinion on the best treatment plan for me? 

Questions about Surgery

  • Is surgery an option for me?  If so, what kind of surgery do you suggest?
  • How long will I stay in the hospital?
  • If I have pain, how will it be controlled?

Questions about Other Types of Treatment 

  • Where will I go for treatment?
  • How is the treatment given?
  • How long will each treatment session take?
  • How many treatment sessions will I have?
  • Should a family member or friend come with me to my treatment sessions?

Questions about Side Effects 

  • What are the possible side effects of the treatment?
  • What side effects may happen during or between my treatment sessions?
  • Are there any side effects that I should call you about right away?
  • Are there any lasting effects of the treatment?
  • Will this treatment affect my ability to have children?
  • How can I prevent or treat side effects?

Questions about Medicines and Other Products You Might Be Taking

  • Do I need to tell you about the medicines I am taking now?
  • Should I tell you about dietary supplements (such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, or fish oil) that I am taking?
  • Could any drugs or supplements change the way that cancer treatment works?