Questions to ask

It is natural to have many questions after a cancer diagnosis. Finding the right answers to your questions is important. These answers will help you make decisions that are right for you.

You may find it helpful to prepare a list of questions and take it with you to appointments. The following tips may also help when meeting with the doctor and other members of the healthcare team:

  • Plan what you would like to ask ahead of time. It helps to keep questions clear and focused.
  • Many people find it helpful to write their questions in a notebook, leaving a space after the question for the answer. This may help you remember to ask your questions when you are at the appointment.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask new questions that you think of while you are at the appointment.
  • Take a family member or friend along for support. They can also help ask questions or record answers.
  • Write down or record the answers to your questions so you can review them when you need to.
  • Ask the healthcare team to spell difficult or unfamiliar words.
  • Confirm with the healthcare team that the answer you have written down is correct.
  • Ask the healthcare team how to contact them between appointments if you have any questions that need to be answered quickly.
  • Remember that you have the right to have your questions about the cancer and treatment plan answered.

The following sections include key questions to ask the healthcare team (organized by topic). You don’t have to ask all of these questions. Choose the ones that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own.

Questions to ask about risks

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about the risk for developing cancer. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about finding cancer early

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about early detection of and screening for cancer. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about diagnosis

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about diagnosing cancer. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about pathology and staging

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team to learn more about a type of cancer. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about treatment

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about treatment options. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about clinical trials

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about clinical trials (research studies). Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about surgery

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about surgery. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about chemotherapy

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about chemotherapy treatments. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about targeted therapy

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about targeted therapy treatment. Choose the questions that fit your or your child’s situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next doctor’s appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about immunotherapy

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about immunotherapy (also sometimes called biological therapy). Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about hormonal therapy

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about hormonal therapy. Choose the questions that fit your situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about radiation therapy

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about radiation therapy treatment. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about stem cell transplant

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about stem cell transplant. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about cryosurgery

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about cryosurgery treatment. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers. What is cryosurg

Questions to ask about laser surgery

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about laser surgery. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about follow-up

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about follow-up after treatment for cancer. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about reconstruction

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about reconstructive surgery. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about rehabilitation

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about rehabilitation after cancer treatment. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about supportive care

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about supportive care. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

Questions to ask about complementary and alternative therapies

When considering complementary and alternative therapies, try to find answers to the following questions from a member of your healthcare team or from the person who is providing the complementary or alternative therapy. Choose the questions that fit your situation and add questions of your own.