What should you ask your doctor about advanced cancer?

It’s important to talk openly and honestly with your doctor about how you feel and how you’re doing. Your doctor and the rest of your cancer care team want to answer all of your questions. It may help to have a family member and or a friend with you during these talks. Take notes or ask if you can record the conversation.

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

  • What are my treatment choices?
  • Which treatment do you recommend, and why?
  • Why are we doing this treatment – to cure the cancer, to help me live longer, or to relieve or prevent symptoms of the cancer?
  • What are the chances that the treatment will help?
  • What side effects are likely to result from the treatment(s) that you recommend? What can I do to help reduce these side effects?
  • How will treatment affect my daily activities?
  • Would a second opinion be helpful to me? Where can I get a second opinion before I start treatment?

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 7, 2014 Last Revised: March 6, 2014

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