What You Can Do Today

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Copyright © 2000 Amgen Inc. All rights reserved.
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

What should I ask my doctor?

People with cancer often feel more confident about their treatment when they understand what's happening and what to expect. Your doctor is always your single most important source of information. Feel free to ask your doctor, nurse, or other specialists about any concerns you have. Please don't hesitate to ask them to explain anything you don't understand, especially if it sounds too technical. Your medical team will respect your desire to take an active interest in your own care.

It helps to prepare questions ahead of time and to take notes when you speak with your doctors. You might consider asking a friend or family member to come along to help you remember everything the doctor says. You might even ask if it's okay to use a tape recorder.

To further stimulate discussion with your medical team, why not print out pages from this Web site that contain issues you'd like to discuss. Bring a copy for yourself and the doctor to your next appointment.

You might want to consider asking:
  1. What type of cancer do I have?
  2. What stage is it in? What does that mean to my possible treatment outcome?
  3. What are my treatment options?
  4. What are the benefits of my different treatment options?
  5. Which treatment do you recommend? Why?
  6. Are these treatments likely to cure my cancer, or to stop it from growing or spreading?
  7. How successful has this treatment been in the past?
  8. How will my treatment be given? How often? Where?
  9. Is it important to get my chemotherapy treatment on schedule? What can be done to make sure this happens?
  10. How will you know that my treatment is working?
  11. What side effects can I expect? What can I do to help manage them?
  12. What kind of lab tests will I need?
  13. Will I need to be in the hospital? Why?
  14. How long will I need to be treated?
  15. Can my treatment be scheduled around dates on the calendar that are important to me?
  16. Are there symptoms I should call you about right away? Who should I call?
  17. Will I be able to participate in my usual activites during treatment?
  18. Will I be able to work?
  19. What financial costs will I be responsible for?
  20. Who should I call with questions or problems?
  21. When is the best time to call if I have a question?
  22. What resources are there to help me cope with this?
  23. Where can I find more information about my cancer and its treatment?
  24. Are there any other questions I should be asking?

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