Communicating With Your Oncologist: Tips from Physicians

Joel W. Goldwein, MD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

It is apparent that some OncoLink users are finding it difficult to have effective communications with their oncologists. As a result, we thought we might make several suggestions aimed at making these communications more effective. Here is a list of these suggestions.

  1. When you speak with your Oncologist, have a list of specific questions that you want answered. Sending the list to the physician in advance might be helpful.

  2. Be prepared to take notes. Bring a pencil and notebook to all meetings and examinations. Have a friend or relative along for the visit to take these notes for you.
  3. Ask for copies of all consent forms.
  4. Ask for copies and explanations of treatment 'road maps'.
  5. Notify your oncologist if you think the questions you have will take an extended period of time to answer. This will give him/her time to arrange their schedule accordingly.
  6. Many oncologists work closely with other team members. Be sure to ask if there is anyone else to meet and/or if there are phone numbers to contact those who might be able to provide additional information.