What Should You Ask Your Doctor About Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?

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

  • What kind of non-Hodgkin lymphoma do I have?
  • Has my biopsy been reviewed by a pathologist who’s an expert on lymphoma?
  • Are there other tests that need to be done before we can decide on treatment?
  • Are there other doctors I need to see?
  • What’s the stage (extent) of the lymphoma, and what does that mean in my case?
  • What’s my International Prognostic Index (IPI) score, and does it affect my options?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of lymphoma?
  • Should I get a second opinion before starting treatment? Can you suggest someone?
  • What are my treatment options? Do we need to treat the lymphoma right away?
  • What do you recommend, and why?
  • What risks or side effects are there to the treatments you suggest?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will treatment last? What will it involve? Where will it be done?
  • How will treatment affect my daily activities?
  • What’s my outlook for survival?
  • What are the chances of the lymphoma coming back with these treatment plans?
  • What would we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the lymphoma comes back?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. For instance, you might want more information about recovery times so that you can plan your work or activity schedule. Or you may want to ask about clinical trials for which you qualify. You can find more information about communicating 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: August 26, 2014 Last Revised: February 29, 2016

American Cancer Society medical information is copyrighted material. For reprint requests, please see our Content Usage Policy.