By Sharon Heng
Very often people with cancer leave their medical appointments without having the information they need, or with unanswered questions. This can be very frustrating, especially if you have felt rushed or that your questions have been dismissed or not answered fully.
Sometimes people have not realized what it is that they needed to know until they have left their appointments. Some people don't know how to go about asking the right questions.
If you have questions that you want to ask, write them down before your appointment and bring the list along with you. If you don't understand something your doctor says or you have concerns or doubts, speak up and ask them to clarify what they have just said. Very often people say 'yes' when their oncologist asks if they understood, but really they didn't.
If you need more time to make a decision before you commit to a plan of treatment, ask if you can have some more information and come back another day to discuss it further - this gives you more time to make a fully informed decision about your treatment.
These are some questions you might want to ask but it is not an exhaustive list.
Questions about the diagnosis:
Questions about tests:
Questions about symptoms:
Questions about treatment:
Questions about clinical trials:
Questions about genetic testing:
Questions about your professional care:
Questions about available support:
Questions about follow-up care:
Questions about complementary therapies:
Questions about advanced cancer:
Learning more about your diagnosis and treatment helps you take an active role in planning your cancer care. Studies show that people with cancer who are well informed about their disease and treatment options usually have better outcomes and fewer side effects than those who simply follow doctors' orders. However, some people feel overwhelmed by too much information and do not want to know too many details.
You are the best judge on how much information you want and need. Share your preferences with your health care team and caregivers.
Being fully informed can make a huge difference to the choices that you make and how you feel throughout your cancer experience.
Remember, there is no such thing as a stupid question!
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Medical information disclaimer
The medical information provided is correct to the best of our knowledge, but no warranty as to accuracy is given. You must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor.
If you have any concerns about your health, you should seek immediate medical attention.