What Should You Ask Your Doctor About Hodgkin Lymphoma?
It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. You should ask any question, no matter how minor it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask:
When you’re told you have Hodgkin lymphoma
- What type of Hodgkin lymphoma do I have?
- What is the stage (extent) of the lymphoma? What does this mean?
- Do I need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
- Do I need to see any other doctors?
- If I’m concerned about the costs and insurance coverage for my diagnosis and treatment, who can help me?
When deciding on a treatment plan
- How much experience do you have treating Hodgkin lymphoma?
- What are my treatment choices? Which do you recommend? Why?
- Does one type of treatment lessen the chance of the lymphoma coming back more than another?
- Should I get a second opinion before starting treatment? Can you suggest a doctor or cancer center?
- 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 are the short-term side effects from treatment? Can anything be done about them?
- What are the possible long-term side effects?
- Will I still be able to have children after my treatment? Can I do anything about this?
- How might treatment affect my daily activities?
- What are the chances the lymphoma will come back? What would we do if this happens?
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?
- 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?
- Are there any limits on what I can do?
- Can you suggest a mental health professional I can see if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed, or distressed?
- What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
- What symptoms should I watch for?
- How will we know if the lymphoma has come back? What would my options be if that happens?
Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down your own questions. For instance, you might want more information about recovery times so that you can plan your work or school schedule. Or you might want to ask about clinical trials for which you may qualify.
Keep in mind that doctors aren’t the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, can answer some of your questions. To find out more about communicating with your health care team, see The Doctor-Patient Relationship.
Bartlett NL, Foyil KV. Chapter 105: Hodgkin lymphoma. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Dorshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier: 2014.
Younes A, Carbone A, Johnson P, Dabaja B, Ansell S, Kuruvilla J. Chapter 102: Hodgkin’s lymphoma. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015.
Last Medical Review: February 10, 2017 Last Revised: March 28, 2017