Kidney Cancer: Questions to Ask the Doctor

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2014

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 kidney cancer do I have?
  • What type of cell makes up the tumor?
  • Can you explain my pathology report to me?
  • What is the stage of my cancer? What does this mean?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What is my prognosis?
  • 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 cancer, help me feel better, or both?
  • 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?
  • Who will be doing the surgery? How experienced is this person with this type of cancer?
  • Can I have a partial nephrectomy? If not, why?
  • If I first receive a type of treatment other than surgery, can surgery be done later, if necessary?
  • Will I need treatment after surgery? What type of treatment?
  • What role, if any, does targeted therapy play in my treatment plan?
  • Does this center have expertise in using high-dose IL-2? If not, what is the nearest center with that expertise?
  • What are the possible side effects of treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
  • How can I keep myself as healthy as possible during treatment?
  • 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 in the future? 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?
  • What are the chances the cancer will come back after treatment?
  • 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.