Questions Every Cancer Patient Should Ask Their Doctor

Questions Every Cancer Patient Should Ask Their Doctor

I was looking through some of my old documents and came across a list of questions I made for two of my mom’s doctors after she was done with her chemotherapy and we got news that her cancer had come back. I just wanted to share this so you can get an idea of what was going on through our heads during this time. Just to give you some context, she was first diagnosed with stage 1 uterine sarcoma cancer, went through surgery and chemotherapy, then got word that her cancer had aggressively spread to her lungs three months later. She developed ascites (fluid build up in the abdomen) as a result of her tumor spreading.

DR. TERADA QUESTIONS (Oncologist):

  1. If she doesn’t go through another round of chemotherapy, how long does she have to live?
  2. Would you recommend this chemo treatment to anyone in your family?
  3. What’s the survival rate for this chemo treatment?
  4. How big is the tumor?
  5. Where exactly is the tumor located?
  6. What kind of fluid is in her stomach?
  7. What can we do about her swollen stomach?
  8. What can we do to alleviate her stomach pains? (naturally if possible)
  9. What do all these symptoms mean? Are these normal symptoms for uterine sarcoma cancer patients?
  10. How fast will her cancer spread if we decide not to go with chemotherapy?
  11. What do we do if she has a hard time breathing?
  12. What are the other symptoms she’s going to slowly start going through if we aren’t going to do the chemotherapy?
  13. If we were to flush out her stomach, what types of symptoms would she have from that? How safe is the procedure? Can you explain exactly what flushing out the fluid is going to do to her.

 

DR. STEVE QUESTIONS (Natural Therapy Doctor):

  1. How effective are the natural methods?
  2. How much longer can we prolong her life by doing this?
  3. Is there research that shows that the tumor can decrease in size with natural treatments?
  4. What is the success rate of the Gerson therapy?
  5. What have you seen and what’s your experience with this?
  6. Have you ever dealt with stage 4 cancer patients or uterine sarcoma cancer patients?
  7. What types of side effects will she experiences during the therapy?
  8. What can we do about her stomach swelling? Do you know what nutrients can target that or a natural way of handling her abdominal issues?
  9. How long does it take for these treatments to start working?

 

Now, here’s a list of some general questions every patient should ask their doctor at the BEGINNING of their cancer journey. It’s so important to get as much information as you can from the beginning because every decision you make from here on out will effect the rest of your life. So here are the best questions any cancer patient can ask their doctor:

GENERAL QUESTIONS:

  1. Where is my cancer located?
  2. What are the risk factors for this disease?
  3. What is the cause of my specific cancer and how is my treatment going to attack the cause? Is it genetic factors, immune factors, toxicity factors etc.?
  4. How many people are diagnosed with this type of cancer each year?
  5. What lifestyle changes—such as diet, exercise, and rest—do you recommend I make to stay as healthy as possible before, during, and after treatment?
  6. Where can I find more information about my type of cancer?

 

SYMPTOMS QUESTIONS:

  1. What are some common symptoms of this type of cancer?
  2. How can I prevent or manage them?
  3. What are the treatment options for my symptoms?
  4. Will certain activities make my symptoms worse?
  5. What should I do if new symptoms arise or existing ones worsen?

 

MEDICATION:

  1. How can I reduce the amount of prescription drugs I need to take? Are there are ways to combat against the symptoms naturally?
  2. What are the side effects of these medications? Will they feed my cancer or weaken my immune system in anyway?
  3. What are the long term effects of the medication?

 

TREATMENT QUESTIONS:

  1. Which treatments, or combination of treatments, do you recommend? Why?
  2. What is the goal of the treatment you are recommending? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help me feel better, or both?
  3. What clinical trials (research studies involving volunteers) are open to me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?
  4. Who will be part of my cancer care team, and what does each member do?
  5. How much experience do you—or other members of the cancer care team—have treating this type of cancer?
  6. What is the likelihood of this treatment being successful?
  7. How can I go about getting a second opinion? Do you have any recommendations?
  8. What is the expected time line for my treatment? Do I need treatment immediately?
  9. What are the short- and long-term side effects of this treatment?
  10. How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
  11. What are the short- and long-term side effects of this treatment?
  12. What can I do to build up my immune system during this time? How can I protect my healthy cells while the toxic cells are being killed?
  13. How will you treat side effects that I experience during treatment?
  14. Do you recommend any foods or supplements to take that’ll help with my treatment?
  15. If I decide to go with chemo/radiation, how can I protect my body from the toxins?
  16. What are the options if this treatment doesn’t prove to be effective with my cancer?
  17. What is the likelihood of my cancer coming back after doing this treatment?
  18. What are some things I can do at home to help me fight my cancer?
  19. Is this a treatment you would take yourself if you were in my shoes?

 

SUPPORT QUESTIONS:

  1. What support services are available to me? To my family?
  2. May I contact you or the nurse if I have additional questions?
  3. Whom should I call with questions or concerns during non-business hours?
  4. Can you recommend a social worker to help locate support services?
  5. Where can I find resources for children? For teenagers? For young adults? For older adults?
  6. If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns? Who handles health insurance concerns in your office?

 

Start your journey off right by getting your very own CanPlan Cancer Planner. It is full of questions you should ask your doctor and space for you to jot down the answers and keep everything organized: www.mycanplan.com/buy