Questions to Ask About Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL)

It's important to have open and honest discussions with your cancer care team about your acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Ask about anything you don’t understand or want to know more about. For instance, consider these questions:

When you're told you have ALL

  • Can you explain to me what ALL is? How is it different from other types of leukemia?
  • What type of ALL do I have? What does this mean?
  • Are there any other factors that might affect my prognosis?
  • Do I need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Do I need to see any other types of doctors?

When deciding on a treatment plan

  • How much experience do you and this medical center have treating this type of leukemia?
  • What are my treatment choices?
  • Which treatment do you recommend, and why?
  • Should we consider a stem cell transplant? When?
  • Should I get a second opinion before starting treatment? Can you suggest a doctor or medical center?
  • How soon do we 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 are the risks and side effects to the treatments that you recommend?
  • How will treatment affect my daily activities?
  • What is my prognosis (outlook)?

During and after treatment

Once treatment begins, you’ll need to know what to expect and what to look for. Not all of these questions may apply to you, but getting answers to the ones that do may be helpful.

  • How will we know if the treatment is working?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • Is there anything I can do to help manage side effects?
  • What symptoms or side effects should I tell you about right away?
  • How can I reach you on nights, holidays, or weekends?
  • Do I need to change what I eat during treatment?
  • Are there any limits on what I can do? 
  • Should I exercise? What should I do, and how often?
  • Can you suggest a mental health professional I can see if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed, or distressed?
  • What would my options be if the treatment isn’t working?
  • Where can I find more information and support?

Be sure to write down any questions you have that are not on this list. For instance, you might want specific information about recovery times so that you can plan your work or activity schedule. Or you might want to ask about clinical trials for which you may qualify.

Keep in mind, too, that doctors aren’t the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, might be able to answer some of your questions. You can find out more about speaking with your health care team in The Doctor-Patient Relationship.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: December 2, 2014 Last Revised: February 18, 2016

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