Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST)

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What should you ask your doctor about gastrointestinal stromal tumors?

As you cope with cancer and cancer treatment, we encourage you to talk openly with your doctor, nurse, and cancer care team. 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.

  • Where is my tumor located? How big is it?
  • How likely is this tumor to grow or spread quickly?
  • Has my tumor spread beyond where it started?
  • What is the stage of my cancer, and what does that mean?
  • Are there other tests that need to be done before we can decide on treatment?
  • Are there other doctors I need to see?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • What treatment choices do I have?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • What is the goal of the treatment?
  • What are the chances my cancer can be cured with treatment?
  • How quickly do we need to decide on treatment?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • What are the risks or side effects that I should expect? How long are they likely to last?
  • How would treatment affect my daily activities?
  • What would we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer recurs?
  • Will my insurance plan pay for the cost of all of the recommended treatments?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • Where can I find more information and support?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want more information about second opinions or about clinical trials for which you may qualify.

Last Medical Review: 12/11/2012
Last Revised: 02/26/2013