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As you cope with cancer and cancer treatment, you need to have honest, open talks with your doctor. You should feel free to ask any question that's on your mind, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask. Be sure to add your own questions as you think of them. Nurses, social workers, and other members of the treatment team may also be able to answer many of your questions.

  • Would you please write down the exact kind of cancer I have.
  • Where is my cancer?
  • Has it spread beyond the place where it began?
  • What is the stage of my cancer, and what does that mean in my case?
  • Are there other tests that need to be done before we can decide on treatment?
  • What treatment choices do I have?
  • What treatment do you suggest and why?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it involve? Where will it be done?
  • How will I pay for treatment? Will my insurance cover it?
  • What is the goal of this treatment?
  • What risks or side effects are there to the treatments you suggest?
  • What can I do to reduce the side effects of treatment?
  • Will I need a colostomy? Will it be permanent?
  • What are the chances my cancer will come back with these treatment plans? What would we do if that happens?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • Should I follow a special diet?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

Be sure to write down any other questions you have

Last Medical Review: 10/15/2014
Last Revised: 02/26/2016