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When your health care team talks about your diagnosis and treatment, ask questions about anything you don’t understand. As you start getting more information about your diagnosis, you will learn that there are many effective treatment options and many places you can turn to for help and hope.

Questions to Ask Your Health Care Team About Your Diagnosis

  • What is my specific diagnosis?
  • Have you treated other patients with my type of cancer?
  • Where is the cancer located?
  • What type of testing is needed for my specific diagnosis?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What is the recommended treatment?
  • How long does this kind of treatment usually last?
  • What are the possible side effects of treatment?
  • Should I get a second opinion?
  • What stage is my cancer and what are the different types of stages?
  • If something unexpected comes up, who should I call?
  • Who can I talk to about insurance questions?
  • What’s the best time to call you if I have a question?
  • What are the specific roles of my health care team?

Questions to Ask Health Care Team About Your Treatment

  • What are the goals for this treatment?
  • What if my symptoms feel worse during treatment?
  • How will it be given? Will I need to go to the doctor’s office or hospital to get my treatment, or will I get medication I can take at home?
  • How often will I receive treatment, and for how long?
  • What are the possible benefits and risks of this treatment?
  • How often will I have scans or blood work during treatment?
  • How much will my treatment cost?
  • Who can I talk to about financial assistance?
  • If I have questions during my treatment and my doctor is not available, who can I ask? For example, is there a nurse, social worker, or other specialist available? When should I contact my primary care physician?
  • Should I consider participating in a clinical trial?

Questions to Ask Your Health Care Team About Your Diagnosis

  • Will I be able to continue working while undergoing treatment?
  • Will my appearance change – for example, will I lose my hair?
  • What will be energy levels be like during treatment?
  • Should I avoid certain foods or have a certain diet while undergoing treatment?
  • Will this treatment affect my fertility?

Edited by Cassie Spector, LMSW

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This fact sheet is supported by Bristol Myers Squibb.

Last updated Sunday, May 8, 2022

The information presented in this publication is provided for your general information only. It is not intended as medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for consultations with qualified health professionals who are aware of your specific situation. We encourage you to take information and questions back to your individual health care provider as a way of creating a dialogue and partnership about your cancer and your treatment.

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