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Questions for Your Care Team

Below are some questions you may want to ask your care team. They are intended to enable you and your family to become more informed and engaged as you and your physician make decisions about your cancer treatment. The care team is dedicated to your care and can be made up of your physician, advanced practice provider, nurse, social worker, financial counselor, medical assistant, and other office staff you interact with at the clinic.

Questions About Diagnosis/Prognosis

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

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

  • 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.)
  • Can I receive palliative medicine focused on the quality of my and my family’s life during my cancer treatment? (Palliative medicine is specialized medical care that acts as an extra layer of support that is meant to improve quality of life.) 
  • What options do I have if I don’t want to continue my cancer treatments?
  • When should I think about hospice?

Questions About Treatment

  • What things are likely to happen to me?
  • What are the common side effects? 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 are available?
  • Which hospital or urgent care center is best for my needs?

Questions About Advance Care Planning

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

Questions About Family and Spiritual Needs

The US Oncology Network is supported by McKesson Specialty Health. © 2016 McKesson Specialty Health. All rights reserved.