Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Small Intestine Cancer

It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. Ask any question, no matter how minor it might seem. For instance, consider these questions:

When you’re told you have a small intestine cancer

  • What type of small intestine cancer do I have? How might this affect my treatment and outlook?
  • Where is the cancer located?
  • What is the stage (extent) of my cancer, and what does that mean for me?
  • Will I need any other tests before we consider treatment options?
  • Will I need to see any other types of doctors?
  • If I’m concerned about 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 someone?
  • Based on what you’ve learned about my cancer, what is my outlook?
  • How quickly do we 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 risks or side effects are there to the treatments you suggest?
  • Will treatment affect my daily activities?
  • How likely is it that the cancer will come back after treatment? Is there anything I can do to lower this risk?

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 (or someone from your office) 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?

After treatment

  • Are there any limits on what I can do?
  • What symptoms should I watch for?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
  • 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?
  • Where can I find more information and support?

Along with these sample questions, be sure to write down any others you want to ask. For instance, you might want information about recovery times so that you can plan your work or activity schedule. Or you might want to ask about clinical trials that might be right for you.

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 learn 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 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: February 8, 2018 Last Revised: February 8, 2018

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