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For Patients

Questions to Ask

Being newly diagnosed with cancer raises several questions--and to ensure you make the best decisions about your cancer treatment, it is important to be educated and informed. The sooner you gather information regarding your cancer diagnosis, treatment and potential side effects, the sooner you’ll be able to move forward, with confidence, during your cancer journey.

Your cancer care team is the best source of information, so good communication with them is important. Don’t be afraid to speak up. They are there to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have during your treatment process.

Since it can be hard to remember everything that crosses your mind, we suggest writing it down to make it easier. To make the most out of each visit, bring your notes with you. A notebook is a useful tool to keep all of your thoughts, questions, and notes in one place. We also recommend reaching out to friends and family, asking them to accompany you during appointments and help you remember questions you have and take notes of information you receive.

Below are some general questions you may want to ask your cancer care team. We have them broken up by topic.

Cancer Diagnosis

  • Exactly what kind of cancer do I have?
  • Where is the cancer located?
  • What is the cancer’s stage? What does that mean?
  • What are my chances of survival, based on what you see?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • What are my treatment choices?
  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • What is the ultimate goal of my treatment?
  • Is genetic testing something I (or my family) could benefit from?
  • Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that?
  • Am I a good candidate for cancer clinical trials?

Treatment Plan

  • What are the chances the cancer will return after treatment?
  • If the treatment doesn’t work or the cancer comes back, what are the next steps?
  • How will treatment affect my pregnancy? Will if affect getting pregnant in the future?
  • What will treatment cost me? Will insurance cover any of it?
  • How long will treatment last? What does it involve?
  • Where will I be treated?
  • What risks will I face? What are the possible side effects?
  • Is there anything I can do to reduce risks or side effects?
  • How will treatment affect my daily routine?
  • Is treatment painful?

Before, During & After Treatment

  • What can I do to prepare for cancer treatment?
  • Should I make any lifestyle changes?
  • How will we know if treatment is working?
  • Is there anything I can do to manage possible side effects?
  • Is my activity limited? If so, what exactly?
  • Should I exercise? If so, how often?
  • Can you suggest support groups that can help?
  • How often will I need additional testing?
  • What kind of follow-up appointments will I need?
  • How will I know if the cancer has come back? What should I look for?
  • What are my options if the disease returns?