Learning that you have cancer is nerve-wracking. Recalling the thought of being diagnosed with cancer sends shivers down the spine. Everything happening around you seems to be a pandemonium. Take time to come to terms with the illness you are suffering and chalk out the plan to battle with it!
Why should you have good communication with your doctor?
Knowing about the ailment, understanding the precautions, and planning your treatment to combat the cancer is the first step! Make the best use of the appointments with the doctor to clarify any doubts that pop up in your mind, albeit trivial ones. Note down everything that the doctor says in a book as the amount of information might make you feel overwhelmed. Bring either a family member or a close friend for your doctor appointments. It will help to process the information given by the doctor, and also serves as strong emotional support to you.
Questions on diagnosis and symptoms
- What type of cancer do I have?
- What stage has cancer reached?
- What might be the cause of cancer?
- How serious is my cancer?
- How common is my cancer?
- Why am I having “X” symptoms?
Questions about medicines and other products
- Do I need to tell you about the medicines I am taking now?
- Should I tell you about dietary supplements (such as vitamins, minerals, herbs, or fish oil) that I am taking?
- Could any drugs or supplements change the way that cancer treatment works?
Questions on treatment
- What are the ways to treat my type and stage of cancer?
- What treatment do you recommend and why?
- When should I start my treatment?
- How will my treatment go ahead?
- Why do you think this treatment is the best for me?
- What are the chances of recovery with the treatment?
- Will I need to be in the hospital when I undergo the treatment? If yes, how long?
- What is the chance of recovery with this treatment?
- How will we know if the treatment is working for me?
- How long will each treatment session take?
- How many treatment sessions will I have?
- Should a family member or friend come with me for the treatment?
Questions on side effects
- What are the risks with each of the treatments?
- What are the short-term and long-term side effects of the treatment?
- How can I treat or prevent the side effects?
- What side effects may happen during or between my treatment sessions?
- Are there any side effects that I should call you about right away?
- Are there any lasting effects of the treatment?
Questions on follow-up care
- Are there any lifestyle changes that I can make to speed my recovery and become healthier?
- Should I make any changes to my diet or lifestyle before or after starting cancer treatment?
- Can my cancer relapse?
- Should I watch for specific signs or symptoms?
- How long will it take for me to get better?
- Are there any particular precautions I need to take?
- Are there any lifestyle changes that will help me become healthier?
- Will I need to do tests after treatment is over?
- How often will I need these tests?
Commit to your mind that you needn’t ask all your questions one after the other during your first consultation with the doctor. Pen down all your queries and get them clarified with your doctor to make your cancer treatment a smooth sailing ship! Remember! Every doctor is keen to listen to you and make you feel better whether you ask trivial questions or serious issues that bother you.