Questions to ask the cancer doctor at consultation
I am seeing my Oncologist for the first time. What questions should I ask him/her?
You are bound to have a lot of questions when you see your oncologist the first time. It may not be possible to ask all the questions in one appointment visit, but the following questions are essential for you to understand the nature of condition and the future course
- What cancer is it?
- What is the stage?
- Which parts of the body has it spread to?
- Is the treatment aimed at cure? and if so, what are the chances of cure?
- What are the investigations needed?
- What are the treatment options? And what are the alternative options?
Is one option better than the other
Are all forms of treatment needed- like surgery, chemotherapy radiotherapy or biological therapy
- What are the side effects of treatment?
- What is the cost of treatment?
If the cancer is stage 4 and is not curable, what questions should I ask?
- What are the treatment options?
- How beneficial are the available options when cancer is not curable?
- Will the treatment increase the life span and if so by how much?
- What are the possible side effects of such treatment?
- What is the cost of such treatment?
- What are the alternative options?
I am seeing my doctor during chemotherapy treatment, what questions should I ask?
- You have to report to the doctor what side effects are present from treatment
- Ask when tests or scans will be done to see if the treatment is working?
- If a scan has been done recently, the doctor will be able to tell whether the Cancer is responding to treatment or not
I am seeing my doctor during radiotherapy treatment, what questions should I ask?
- You have to report any side affects you are having from treatment
- Ask the doctor how you are doing at the current stage of treatment?
- Ask about when the next scan will be done to assess response to treatment?
- If finishing radiotherapy, ask about next follow up appointment and what precautions and diet to take during that period
I am seeing my doctor after surgical treatment for cancer, what questions should I ask?
- What is the pathology report showing?
- Are the margins clear?
- What is the stage of Cancer from the pathology report?
- Are additional tests required now?
- Are any further treatments needed like chemotherapy or radiotherapy?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
My doctor advised surgery as treatment for my cancer, what questions should I ask?
- Is the surgery a curative treatment for the Cancer?
- What is the surgery called?
- What type of surgery is it? Open, laparoscopic or robotic?
- What type of anaesthesia is used and how long is the operation for?
- What are the potential side effects and risks of the surgery?
- How long will I need to stay in hospital after surgery?
- What is the cost of surgery?
My doctor advised radiotherapy as treatment for my cancer, what questions should I ask?
- Is Radiotherapy a curative treatment for this Cancer?
- How long is the treatment for?
- Are there different types of Radiotherapy that can be used such as 3DCRT, IMRT, IGRT, SBRT, SRS, SRT, Brachytherapy etc
- Which option is better and why?
- What is the cost difference between these options?
- What are the potential side effects of this treatment?
- Is it given alone or combined with chemotherapy?
- If treatment is not curative, what is the benefit of the treatment?
My doctor advised Chemotherapy, Immunotherapy or Biological therapy as treatment for my cancer, what questions should I ask?
- What is the name of the Chemotherapy regimen?
- How often is it given?
- Is the treatment as a day care or do I have to stay overnight in the hospital?
- Is the treatment in the form of tablets or drips or injection or a combination of them?
- What are the expected side effects?
- What precautions should I take when having this treatment?
- What side effects should I report urgently?
- How many courses of Chemotherapy should I have?
- What is the cost of the treatment?