Questions to Ask About Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumor

It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. They want to answer all your questions, so that you can make informed treatment and life decisions.  For instance, consider these questions:

When you’re told you have a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor

  • What kind of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor do I have?
  • Has my cancer spread beyond where it started?
  • What is the stage of my cancer and what does that mean?
  • Is my cancer resectable (removable by surgery)?
  • Are my symptoms because the cancer is making too many hormones?
  • Will I need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
  • Will I need to see other doctors or health care professionals?
  • 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 this type of cancer?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • What is the goal of the treatment?
  • Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that? Can you recommend a doctor or cancer center?
  • How is treatment likely to help me?
  • What risks or side effects might I expect? Are there things I can do to reduce these side effects?
  • Should I think about taking part in a clinical trial?
  • How quickly do I 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 are the chances the cancer will recur (come back) with these treatment plans?
  • Will treatment affect my daily activities? Can I still work full time?
  • What would my options be if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?
  • What if I have transportation problems getting to and from treatment? 

During 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?
  • 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?
  • Can I exercise during treatment? If so, what kind 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?

After treatment

  • Are there any limits on what I can do?
  • Do I need a special diet after treatment?
  • What symptoms should I watch for?
  • What kind of exercise should I do now?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • How often will I need to have follow-up exams and tests? Will I need any blood tests?
  • How will we know if the cancer has come back? What should I watch for?
  • What will my options be if the cancer comes back?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down some of your own. 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 speaking with your health care team, see The Doctor-Patient Relationship.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: October 30, 2018 Last Revised: October 30, 2018

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