What to Ask Your Doctor

Before Undergoing a Biopsy
  • How long will it take?
  • Will I be awake?
  • Will it hurt?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital?
  • How soon will I know the results?
  • If I do have cancer, who will talk with me about treatment? When?
After Diagnosis
  • Is this a cancer?
  • If so, will you write down the medical name for it?
  • Are there other names for this same cancer?
  • What is the difference between a benign and a malignant tumor?
  • What stage and grade is my cancer?
  • What are the treatment choices?
  • Which do you recommend? Why?
  • What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment?
  • What are the chances that the treatment will be successful?
  • What new treatments are being studied in clinical trials?
  • Would a clinical trial be appropriate?
  • Will you send my records to another physician if I decide to get a second opinion?
Before Treatment Begins
  • What is the goal of this treatment?
  • When will the treatments begin?
  • When will they end?
  • Will I have to stay in the hospital?
  • How will I feel during therapy?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • How will you manage the side effects?
  • If I have pain, how will you manage it?
  • What is the treatment likely to cost?
  • What can I do to take care of myself during therapy?
  • What effect will cancer/cancer therapies have on my eating habits?
  • Are there any foods I should avoid?
  • Are there any foods I could benefit from eating?
  • How will I know if the therapy is working?
  • Will I be able to continue my normal activities during treatment?
If Cancer is in Remission and/or After You Have Completed Treatment
  • Will the cancer come back?
  • How often will you see me and for how long?
  • Will I be able to lead a "normal life?"
  • What kind of ongoing health needs will I have?
  • Are there long term side effects of the treatment or disease that may occur?
  • How often do they occur?
  • When are they most likely to occur?