Salivary Gland Cancer

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Talking With Your Doctor TOPICS

What should you ask your doctor about salivary gland cancer?

It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your doctor. Ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask. Nurses, social workers, and other members of the treatment team may also be able to answer many of your questions.

  • What kind of salivary gland cancer do I have?
  • Which salivary gland is affected?
  • Is my cancer high grade (likely to grow and spread quickly) or low grade?
  • Has my cancer spread beyond where it started?
  • What is my cancer’s stage, and what does that mean?
  • Will I need other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Will I need to see other 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 treatment do you recommend and why?
  • What’s 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 risks or side effects should I expect? How long are they likely to last?
  • Is treatment likely to affect my speech or swallowing?
  • Will treatment affect the way I look?
  • How will treatment affect my daily activities?
  • What will we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer recurs?
  • What type of follow-up might 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 your recovery time so you can plan your work schedule. Or you might want to ask 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: 01/13/2014
Last Revised: 01/13/2014