Questions to Ask Your Doctor - Evaluating Your Treatment

 

 

      Questions to Ask Your Doctor

    educational information

  treatment decisions
 

 



"If you don't know your options, you don't have any."

The following questions are intended as a starting point. You may only feel comfortable with some of the questions, some may not be appropriate, and you may come up with others you need answered.

Take the time upfront to think about these questions and ask until you are fully satisfied with the answers.

Remember that any claims about curing cancer must be well substantiated. Keep copies of your questions and answers handy, since you may want to refer to them again. 

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Most Important: Trust Yourself – your intuition and your instincts about your doctor, the medical team and your general health care team. Find the provider and treatments that feel right to you.

Act on any concerns that you have. Moving on and continuing searching is better than staying in a situation that is not working and conducive to your optimal health and healing.

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  • What are your beliefs about cancer? 
For example: Cancer  is a deadly process. Cancer is curable. Cancer will wreck my life. cancer will be a challenge, but it won't destroy me...)  Investigating your thoughts and feelings related to cancer can provide rich insights. Cancer can precipitate deep tenacity and vulnerability. Exploring the scope of cancer associated thoughts and feelings will help you to increase self - understanding and self empowerment.
  • What are your beliefs about doctors?
For example: Doctors are untrustworthy, Doctors are greedy. Doctors are caring. Doctors don't tell you the truth. Doctors are knowledgeable, but uncaring...
        

 

  • Do I feel comfortable with this the doctor or complementary medicine therapist? What are their bedside manners?

  • Does the doctor treats me as a person or as a disease?

  • Is his attitude my way, or the highway in his practice?

  • Is the doctor respecting my wish of treatment and will he, inspite of his disagreement with the choice of my treatment support me?

  • Do they seem rational?

  • Do they seem honest?

  • How do they communicate?

  • Is what your doctor and medical team say and do consistent?

  • Do they walk their talk?

  • Are they available to patients outside of appointment times for emergencies?

  • What is the best time to call the doctor if I have a question?

  • If I am in pain and it is after hours, whom should I call for help?

  • Is it easy to get an appointment?


  • Are the hours good for me?


  • Do I like how the office looks and feels?

  • Do I like the staff?

  • Do I like the phone manners of the receptionist?

  • Are any clinic physicians available outside of office hours for emergencies?

  • Does the clinic recommend that the patient have a   companion with them for supportive care?

  • Does the clinic have any staff members to provide psychological support to patients? If so, how many staff members and what are their credentials? Is there an extra fee associated with this support?

  • What knowledge does your medical care providers have about integrative cancer care?

  • What integrative cancer care plan are they recommending for you, if any?
 
        

 

 
  • Do I feel comfortable with this the doctor or complementary medicine therapist? What are their bedside manners?

  • Does the doctor treats me as a person or as a disease?

  • Is his attitude my way, or the highway in his practice?

  • Is the doctor respecting my wish of treatment and will he, inspite of his disagreement with the choice of my treatment support me? 

  • Do they seem rational?

  • Do they seem honest?

  • How do they communicate?

  • Is what your doctor and medical team say and do consistent?

  • Do they walk their talk?

  • Are they available to patients outside of appointment times for emergencies?

  • What is the best time to call the doctor if I have a question?

  • If I am in pain and it is after hours, whom should I call for help?

  • Is it easy to get an appointment?


  • Are the hours good for me?


  • Do I like how the office looks and feels?

  • Do I like the staff?

  • Do I like the phone manners of the receptionist?

  • Are any clinic physicians available outside of office hours for emergencies?

  • Does the clinic recommend that the patient have a  companion with them for supportive care?

  • Does the clinic have any staff members to provide psychological support to patients? If so, how many staff members and what are their credentials? Is there an extra fee associated with this support?

  • What knowledge does your medical care providers have about integrative cancer care?

  • What integrative cancer care plan are they recommending for you, if any?

       

 

 
  • What stage is my cancer? What does that mean?

  • Has my cancer spread outside the original site (metastasized)? If so, where?

  • Would you take this treatment, i. e. chemotherapy and radiation, if it where offered to you? Would you recommend the treatment to your family?

  • Who will be responsible for my treatment?

  • What doctors will administer treatments?

  • What are the qualifications of other clinic staff members that will administer treatments?

  • What are the conventional cancer treatment options for your type and stage of cancer? What is being recommended for you? What cancer clinical trials are available?

  • What evidence exists regarding the potential efficacy of recommended treatments?

  • If the doctor / hospital is using experimental therapies and conducting research, have they published their results, and if not, why?

  • Do studies exist about the cancer treatments independent of the provider and health care facility?

  • Who has funded studies evaluating the treatments?

  • Have any studies been published in quality journals?

  • What are the predicted outcomes with and without treatments?

  • What team members will be involved in your care? What are their roles?

  • What is the goal of treatment?

  • How are patient progress and response rates monitored over time? What tests are recommended, and how often?

  • What is the safety profile?

  • What are the possible risks or side effects of treatment in the short and long term?

  • What is the impact from treatments on quality of life? How do the treatments impact day-to-day activities?

  • How are side effects such as pain controlled and managed?

  • Do the treatments cause changes in sexual function and/or fertility?

  • What can be done to support your body during and after treatments?

  • Is it possible to get a secondary cancer from the treatments?

  • Is it possible that my type of cancer will spread due to the treatments?

  • Do the benefits of having the treatment outweigh the risk?

  • What are the pros and cons of my treatment?

  • How will this treatment affect, for better or worse, my quality of life?

  • Are there other treatments for me to consider?

  • What scientific articles have been published about the treatments being recommended.

 

       

 
  • What is the scientific basis and history of the treatments?

  • Have you published scientific articles related to the treatments?

  • Have any studies been published in quality journals?

  • How many people has your doctor(s) treated with my diagnosis? How many people have they treated overall throughout their career?

  • How often will I need to come in for treatment or tests?

  • How long will my treatments last?

  • What if I miss a treatment?

  • What kind of changes will I need to make in my work, family life, and leisure time?

  • What are the names of the drugs I will take? What are they for?

  • What other drugs or treatments might I have?

  • How will you know whether my treatment is working?

  • Why do I need blood tests, and how often will I need them?

  • If other specialists take part in my care, who will be in charge of my treatment plan?

  • What symptoms or problems should I report right away?

  • If I do not feel sick, does that mean the treatment is not working?

  • What are the chances that my cancer may come back with the treatment plans we have discussed?

       

 

  • What can I do to be ready for treatment?

  • Will I still be able to have children after treatment?
  • Are there any special foods I should or should not eat?

  • How much will treatment cost? Will my insurance pay for it?

  • What type of treatment do you recommend? Why?

  • What are the risks and side effects associated with this type of treatment?

  • Are there any other treatment options for my cancer? How do they differ?

  • How soon do I need to start treatment?

  • What will happen if I postpone treatment or decide not to have it?

  • Will I need to stay in the hospital? If so, for how long? 

  • How often do the treatments occur? How long will they last?

  • Will I need to limit any of my daily or recreational activities because of treatment?

  • Will I be able to work? If so, are there any restrictions?

  • Will I need more than one type of treatment?

  • How should I expect to feel during and after treatment?

  • If I am in pain and it is after hours, whom should I call for help?

What kind of follow-up will I need after my treatment is finished.

 

 


 

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