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It’s important to have honest, open talks with your doctor. Feel free to ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask.

  • Would you please write down the exact kind of cancer this is?
  • Has the cancer spread beyond the bone where it started?
  • What is the stage of the cancer and what does that mean?
  • Do we need to do other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • Will we need to see other doctors?
  • What are our treatment choices?
  • What do you suggest and why?
  • How soon do we need to start treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it be like? Where will it be done?
  • How will treatment affect our daily lives?
  • What should we do to get ready for treatment?
  • What are the possible risks and side effects of the suggested treatments?
  • Which side effects start shortly after treatment and which ones might happen later on?
  • Will treatment affect my child’s ability to grow and develop?
  • Are there fertility issues we need to think about?
  • What are the chances of the cancer coming back after treatment?
  • What would we do if this happens?
  • What type of follow up and rehab will be needed after treatment?
  • Are there nearby support groups or other families who have been through this that we could talk to?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want to learn more about recovery times so you can plan work or school schedules. You may also want to ask about second opinions or about available clinical trials.

Keep in mind that doctors are not the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to some of your questions. For more about communicating with your health care team, see our document Talking With Your Doctor.

Last Medical Review: 06/13/2014
Last Revised: 01/27/2016