Questions to Ask Your Health Care Team About Stomach Cancer

It’s important to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. Feel free to ask any question, no matter how small it might seem. Here are some questions you might want to ask.

When you're told you have stomach cancer

  • What kind of stomach cancer do I have?
  • Where is the cancer in my stomach?
  • What is the stage of my cancer, and what does that mean in my case?
  • Are there other tests that need to be done before we can decide on treatment?
  • Will I need to see any other types of doctors?
  • How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
  • Based on what you’ve learned about my cancer, what is my prognosis (outlook)?

When deciding on a treatment plan

  • What treatment choices do I have?
  • What do you recommend and why?
  • What is the goal of treatment (to cure the cancer, slow its growth, ease symptoms, etc.)?
  • Are there any clinical trials I should think about now?
  • Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that? Can you recommend a doctor or cancer center?
  • 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 involve? Where will it be done?
  • What risks or side effects are there to the treatments you suggest? How long are they likely to last?
  • How will treatment affect my daily life? Will it affect the way I eat?

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 on your team on nights, weekends, or holidays?
  • 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?
  • Do you know of any local or online support groups where I can talk to others who have been through this?
  • 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?
  • Should I exercise or follow a special diet?
  • 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 treatment doesn't work or if the cancer comes back?
  • Where can I find more information and support?

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 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 Revised: January 22, 2021

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