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.

  • What test(s) are needed to find cancer? How are they done?
  • Will a biopsy be done?
  • When will the test(s) be scheduled? Is there a waiting list?
  • Who makes the arrangements or appointments for the test(s)?
  • Can a support person (such as a partner, parent or friend) be present during the test(s)?
  • Where will the test(s) be done?
  • Will the procedure be done as an inpatient or outpatient procedure?
  • Is an anesthetic or sedation used? If so, what kind?
  • Is any preparation needed for the test(s)?
  • How long will the test(s) take?
  • Are there any side effects to the test(s)? Is the procedure painful?
  • Are there any risks involved with the test(s)? What are they?
  • Are there special instructions to follow after the test(s)?
  • Do I need to arrange a ride home after the test(s)?
  • How long does it take to get the results of the test(s)?
  • Who will explain the test results?
  • May I have a copy of the test results?
  • What happens if the results are not normal?
  • What other tests will need to be done? Why?

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

We do our best to make sure that the information we provide is accurate and reliable but cannot guarantee that it is error-free or complete.

The Canadian Cancer Society is not responsible for the quality of the information or services provided by other organizations and mentioned on, nor do we endorse any service, product, treatment or therapy.

1-888-939-3333 | | © 2024 Canadian Cancer Society