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Helpful Questions Cancer Care Team

Below are suggested, helpful questions that you may want to ask your team.

Cancer Diagnosis & Prognosis

  • What additional tests are needed at this time?
  • What is the goal of treatment?
  • What is my likelihood for a successful outcome?

Cancer Treatment

  • What things are likely to happen to me?
  • What are the common side effects [Link to Managing Cancer Symptoms]?
    • How do I manage those side effects at home?
  • When should I contact the clinic for help?
  • Is there a document I can give to my family members that can help them stay informed on my treatment?
  • What is the cost of this treatment?
  • Am I healthy enough to undergo the treatment?
  • What clinical trials [Link to Clinical Research] are available?
  • Which hospital or urgent care center is best for my needs?
  • How will treatment affect my other medical conditions?

Advanced Disease

For some patients with advanced stages of cancer, treatment is aimed at improving length and quality of life. For advanced diseases, here are some questions to ask your physician:

  • Is my cancer terminal?
    • If I cannot be cured, will I live longer with treatment?
    • If so, roughly how much longer?
  • What is my life expectancy? (Ask for a reasonable range of time and the most likely scenario.)
  • How will you manage my symptoms and complications?
  • What options do I have if I don’t want to continue my cancer treatments?
  • When should I think about hospice?

Family and Spiritual Needs

  • Who will help me talk to my children?
  • Who is available to help me cope with this situation?

Advance Care Planning

  • Are there things I should be doing to plan ahead?
    • Draft a will?
    • Participate in advance care planning and decide on my advance directives?
    • Choose a healthcare proxy who can speak for me if I am unable?
    • Address financial or family legal issues?
    • Appoint a durable power of attorney for financial affairs?
    • Write notes or create DVDs for loved ones?