Esophageal Cancer: Questions to Ask the Doctor

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your doctor or other members of your health care team, to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Talking often with the doctor is important to make informed decisions about your health care. These suggested questions are a starting point to help you learn more about your cancer care and treatment. You are also encouraged to ask additional questions that are important to you. You may want to print this list and bring it to your next appointment, or download Cancer.Net’s free mobile app for an e-list and other interactive tools to manage your care.

  • What type of esophageal cancer do I have?
  • Is the cancer located only in my esophagus?
  • What is the stage and grade of the disease? What does this mean?
  • Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What clinical trials are open to me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?
  • Are there radiation therapy and surgery options to treat my cancer?
  • Is surgery needed as part of treatment?
  • How experienced is the surgeon with this type of surgery?
  • Can chemotherapy control the cancer?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is my prognosis?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help me feel better, or both?
  • What are the possible side effects of each treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?
  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have children? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?
  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?
  • Who will be coordinating my overall treatment and follow-up care?
  • If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • Whom should I call for questions or problems?

The next section offers some more resources that may be helpful to you. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Additional Resources, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.