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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 your health care team may also be able to answer many of your questions.

  • Would you please write down the exact type of cancer I have?
  • Where is my cancer found?
  • Has my cancer spread beyond the place where it started?
  • What is the stage of my cancer and what does that mean in my case?
  • Do I need other tests before we decide on treatment?
  • Are there other doctors I need to see?
  • How many of these cancers have you treated?
  • What treatment choices do I have?
  • Are there any clinical trials that might be right for me?
  • What treatment do you recommend and why?
  • How soon do we need to decide on treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it involve? Where will it be done?
  • What is the goal of this treatment?
  • What are the risks or side effects that I might expect?
  • How will this treatment affect my voice? If my larynx is removed, what are the options for restoring my voice?
  • What are the chances my cancer will come back with these treatment plans?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • Based on what you’ve learned about my cancer, how long do you think I’ll survive?
  • 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 recovery times so that you can plan your work or activity schedule. Or you may want to ask about getting a second opinion.

Last Medical Review: 04/08/2014
Last Revised: 02/17/2016