Eye Cancer: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2012

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.

General questions:

  • What type of eye cancer do I have?
  • Where exactly is the tumor located?
  • What stage is the cancer? What does this mean?
  • Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
  • Do you recommend any additional diagnostic tests, such as cytogenetics or gene expression profiling?
  • Who can help me interpret the results of this test(s)?
  • Do I need treatment right away?
  • What experience do you have in treating patients with uveal melanoma?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What is the likelihood that the cancer is metastatic?
  • What clinical trials are open to me?
  • 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?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment?
  • What are the possible side effects of this 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?
  • If I'm worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?

For patients who need surgery:

  • What type of surgery do you recommend? Why?
  • What are the side effects of my surgery?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital for this surgery? For how long?
  • Will I have problems with my vision afterwards, either immediately or in the long term?

For patients who need an eye removed:

  • How do I adjust to only having one eye?
  • How long will it take me to recover physically?
  • What rehabilitation services are available?
  • How soon can I get a prosthesis (artificial eye)?
  • When do I get a permanent prosthesis?
  • How do I care for my prosthesis?

For patients who need radiation therapy:

  • What kind of radiation therapy will I receive?
  • What does the preparation for this treatment involve?
  • What is the likelihood of having radiation damage to my eye?
  • What is the risk of vision loss?
  • What other side effects can I expect from this treatment?
  • What can be done to treat the side effects?

After treatment:

  • What are the chances that the cancer will return?
  • What follow-up tests do I need, and how often do I need them?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • Whom do I call for 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.