Lung Cancer (Small Cell)

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What should you ask your doctor about small cell lung cancer?

It is important for you to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. You should feel free to ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Nurses, social workers, and other members of the treatment team may also be able to answer many of your questions. Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • What kind of lung cancer do I have?
  • Where exactly is the cancer? Has it spread beyond where it started?
  • 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?
  • 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 is my expected survival rate, based on my cancer as you see it?
  • What risks or side effects are there to the treatments you suggest? How long are they likely to last?
  • 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 involve? Where will it be done?
  • How will treatment affect my daily activities?
  • What would we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?
  • What type of follow-up would I need after treatment?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want to ask about second opinions or about clinical trials for which you may qualify. You can find more information about communicating with your health care team in our document Talking With Your Doctor.


Last Medical Review: 09/12/2014
Last Revised: 11/10/2014