Islet Cell Tumor: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2014

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 medical 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.

General questions

  • What type of tumor do I have?
  • How often do you treat patients with this type of tumor?
  • Is the tumor cancerous or benign?
  • Is the tumor functioning or nonfunctioning? What does this mean?
  • Has the tumor spread outside the pancreas?
  • 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?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the tumor, help me feel better, or both?
  • Do I need to start 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 each treatment option, 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 should I call for questions or problems?

For people who need surgery

  • Can you explain what will happen during the surgery?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital for this surgery? For how long?
  • What side effects will there be from my surgery?
  • Will this surgery affect my ability to digest food? How? For how long?
  • Will I need to take medicine, hormones, or enzymes after this surgery? For how long?
  • How can other side effects be treated?

For people who need chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or immunotherapy

  • What types of medication will I receive?
  • How can I best prepare myself for this treatment?
  • What side effects can I expect from this treatment?
  • What will be done to manage these side effects?

After treatment

  • 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?

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.