Questions to Ask Your Medical Oncology Team

Author: Christina Bach, MBE, LCSW, OSW-C
Last Reviewed: February 22, 2023

A medical oncologist is a doctor who prescribes chemotherapy and other medications for the treatment of cancer. The following is a list of questions that are usually addressed before starting treatment. Use this list to take notes and ask any questions that might not be discussed. It can be helpful to bring someone to your appointments or have someone call in to help you take notes.

Before Treatment

  • Are there any imaging tests or lab work I need before treatment?
  • Who decides my treatment plan?
  • What is my treatment plan?
  • Who gives me my treatment?
  • Where will I have my treatment--in the hospital, outpatient, or at home?
  • Do I need a central line (implanted IV)?
  • How much will my treatment cost?
  • Will my insurance cover the costs?
  • Are they taken by mouth (oral) or given in an IV (intravenous)?
  • What are some of the common side effects of my treatment?
  • What are some serious side effects I should watch out for?
  • When do I need to let you know about a side effect?
  • Are there medications I can take to help with side effects?
  • Who do I call if the medications I am taking don’t improve my side effects?
  • If I have questions or concerns when I am at home, who should I call?
  • Are there any special precautions I need to take at home? How about my caregiver?
  • Are there any late or long-term side effects of my treatment?

After Treatment

  • How often will I see you when I am done with treatment?
  • Will I need imaging tests or lab work after treatment?
  • How do we know if my treatment worked?
  • What if my treatment didn’t work?
  • Will I need any kind of physical or occupational therapy during or after treatment?
  • Will I receive a survivorship care plan?

If you have further questions or concerns after any of your appointments, make sure to contact your provider’s office.


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