Hearing the words, ‘You have cancer,’ can be a devastating diagnosis in so many ways. From feelings of insecurities, the psychological and emotional effects, or some patients feel nothing at all. While some patients feel mental numbness, others are immediately sad and afraid.
Regardless of how you may react, it’s crucial to understand what your disease is. Given these points, we’ve compiled a list of 10 questions to ask your oncologist about your cancer.
Questions To Ask Your Oncologist
When it comes to your health, no question should be off limits. In most cases, your doctors want you to ask the tough questions, even when the answers are difficult to hear. The questions below are just a few of many to ask your oncologist so you can receive the education and support you need.
1. What Kind Of Cancer Do I Have?
You will no doubt do a ton of research on your type of cancer. From where it originated, whether it’s a common type of cancer, what are the chances of survival, and more. Plus, fear of the unknown can cause additional stress or anxiety. For these reasons, you need the most accurate information as possible from your oncologist. Knowing this information also determines the next step in your treatment.
2. Is My Cancer Curable?
Unfortunately, out of all of the questions to ask your oncologist, this is one of the least asked questions. But don’t be afraid to ask because your oncologist wants to have an honest conversation with you and your loved ones about your diagnosis. Asking will also help you better understand your treatment options and your path forward.
3. What Stage Is My Cancer In?
The stage is the development of a cancer in your body. Generally, it is determined by the size of the tumor and whether it has spread. Knowing the answer to this question is a decisive factor in understanding how aggressive your treatment should be. You will also have a better understanding of how serious the disease is.
4. How Will You Choose The Right Treatment Plan For Me?
Because every form of cancer is unique, there is no single treatment that is right for everyone. Therefore, your doctor will create a specific treatment plan based on the type and stage of your cancer. But you play an essential role in developing that plan. So, before making a decision on how to proceed, make sure you know what all of your options are.
5. Will This Treatment Increase My Chances Of Survival?
Treatment affects everyone differently, just as every patient’s cancer treatment is unique. Because treatment impacts your quality of life, discuss the short- and long-term expectations of treatment results, and managing side effects.
6. What Do I Need To Do To Prepare For My Treatment?
Before you start your treatment, your cancer care team should go over everything you need to do. This could include radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy. But if you don’t understand the process or any of the steps in your plan, do not be afraid to ask for clarification.
7. Should I Get A Second Opinion?
This is your life we’re talking about here, so offending your doctor does not come into play. Not only is it not bad etiquette, but it’s a normal part of a cancer diagnosis.
8. Are There Clinical Trials I Can Participate In?
Your overall medical history, previous treatments, cancer type and stage, and age are some of the factors that will determine your eligibility for a clinical trial. Don’t make assumptions that you won’t be accepted. Instead, if you’re curious about clinical trials, just ask.
9. What To Do If I Can No Longer Speak For Myself?
Soon after receiving your cancer diagnosis, you should create an advanced care plan that outlines your choices about your future medical care. You should also have an attorney create your will to ensure your wishes for your business and estate are met. Doing these things offers peace of mind for you, as well as your loved ones.
10. How Do I Cope With My Cancer Diagnosis?
Coping with a cancer diagnosis can be emotional and stressful, it is not easy. Emotions range from being worried, scared, angry, and more, but know that all of this is normal. There are available support groups for you, as well as for your caregivers, family members and loved ones. Ask your cancer care team about support groups and behavioral medicine services.
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