Pancreatic Cancer

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What should you ask your doctor about pancreatic cancer?

It is important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. They want to answer all of your questions, no matter how minor they might seem to you. For instance, consider these questions:

  • What kind of pancreatic cancer do I have?
  • Has my cancer spread beyond where it started?
  • What is the stage of my cancer? Is it resectable?
  • Do I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Do I need to see other kinds of doctors?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • Should I get a second opinion? Can you recommend a doctor or cancer center?
  • What are my treatment choices?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment?
  • How is treatment likely to help me?
  • What risks or side effects might I expect? How long are they likely to last?
  • Will treatment affect how I eat?
  • How would treatment affect my daily activities?
  • Should I think about taking part in a clinical trial?
  • How soon do I need to start 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 would my options be if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?
  • Where can I find more information and support?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. Keep in mind that doctors are not the only ones who can provide you with information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to some of your questions. You can find more information about communicating with your health care team in our document Talking With Your Doctor.

Last Medical Review: 06/11/2014
Last Revised: 01/09/2015