© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
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.
- Where is the tumor located?
- Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
- How aggressive is the tumor?
- Should I be seeing a GIST specialist?
- What are my treatment options?
- What clinical trials are open to me?
- What is the goal of each treatment option?
- What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
- Do I need treatment right away?
- 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 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 treatment begins?
- If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my medical care, who can help me with these concerns?
- Whom do I call for questions or problems?
Questions to ask before surgery:
- Can you describe this surgery to me?
- What are the possible side effects of this surgery? How will they be treated?
- Will I need to stay in the hospital for this surgery? For how long?
- Why are you recommending this specific type of surgery for me?
- What is the goal of surgery?
Questions about imatinib mesylate (Gleevec):
- If I have surgery, should I take Gleevec before surgery? What dosage? For how long?
- If I have surgery, should I take Gleevec after surgery? What dosage? For how long?
- What factors determine how effective Gleevec is likely to be?
- What are the possible side effects? How will they be treated?
- What can be done if Gleevec stops working? Can I receive Sutent in that case?
Questions to ask before radiation therapy:
- What kind of radiation therapy is recommended?
- What is the goal of radiation therapy?
- What does the preparation for this treatment involve?
- What possible side effects can I expect from this treatment? How will they be treated?
After treatment, including surgery:
- What are the chances that the tumor 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?