Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

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

A surgeon is a doctor who performs procedures and surgeries, sometimes for the treatment of cancer. The following is a list of questions that should be addressed during your appointment. 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 keep notes.

Before Surgery

  • Do I need any imaging tests or lab work before surgery?
  • Do I have any options regarding my surgery? Open vs laparoscopic?
  • What is the goal of surgery: Biopsy? Removal of part or all of the cancer? Symptom management?
  • How long will the surgery take?
  • What are the risks of this surgery?
  • Who will be involved in my surgery?
  • Will I be awake or asleep for the surgery? What kind of anesthesia is used?

After Surgery

  • Will I have to stay in the hospital after surgery? For how long?
  • How will my incision be closed?
  • Will I have drains or any attachments?
  • How do I care for my incision?
  • Should I expect pain? How will it be managed?
  • Can I shower?

After Discharge from the Hospital

  • Will I have homecare?
  • Will I have any restrictions for activities of daily living?
  • Can I drive?
  • When do I need to be seen in the office?
  • When will my incision be healed?
  • When can I exercise?
  • When can I go back to work?
  • Will I need any kind of physical or occupational therapy after surgery?
  • Are there any late or long-term side effects of my 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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