Talking With Your Doctor

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Information from your doctor that you will need later

At some point – even if you don’t change doctors before or during treatment – you are likely to find yourself in the office of a new doctor. It’s important that you be able to give your new doctor the exact details of your diagnosis and treatment. Make sure you have the following information handy and always keep copies for yourself:

  • A copy of your pathology report from any biopsy or surgery
  • If you had surgery, a copy of your operative report
  • If you were in the hospital, a copy of the discharge summary that every doctor prepares when patients are sent home
  • If you had radiation, a final summary of the dose and field
  • Since some drugs can have long-term side effects, a list of all your drugs, drug doses, and when you took them

You can usually ask your treating doctor’s office staff for copies of your records. Keep in mind that doctors sometimes move and offices can close, so ask for your records sooner rather than later. If the treatment or test took place in a hospital, you will need to contact their medical records department to find out how to get these records. Hospitals do dispose of records after a certain length of time, so don’t delay. This is the kind of information you will want to keep the rest of your life, since almost any doctor you see in the future will need it.

Last Medical Review: 05/04/2012
Last Revised: 05/04/2012