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.
- What is my diagnosis?
- What type of tumor is it? Is it cancerous?
- If benign, will it turn malignant?
- Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
- What is the stage of this tumor? What does this mean?
- How often do you treat people with this type of tumor?
- Do I need treatment right away?
- What are my treatment options?
- 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 are the advantages of combining surgery and chemotherapy and radiation therapy?
- Should I get a second opinion?
- 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 medical care, who can help me with these concerns?
- What is my prognosis (chance of recovery)?
- What changes to my appearance can I expect?
- Will I need to see a plastic surgeon?
- Will I need to see an ocularist (a person who makes prosthetic eyes) or an anaplastologist (a person who works with the surgery team to reconstruct the face)
- What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?
For people who need surgery:
- What side effects are possible from this type of surgery?
- Can you recommend an experienced surgeon?
- Will I need to stay in the hospital for this surgery? For how long?
- How will you and I be able to tell if the entire tumor was removed during surgery?
- Will I have problems with my vision afterwards? For how long?
For patients who need to have an eye removed:
- How do I adjust to using one eye?
- How long will it take me to recover?
- 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 people who need radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy:
- What kind of therapy will I receive?
- What does the preparation for this treatment involve?
- What is the risk to my vision with this treatment?
- What other short-term and long-term side effects can I expect from this treatment?
- How can you help relieve these side effects?
- What are the chances the cancer will return?
- What follow-up tests do I need, and how often do I need them?
- How closely will I need to be monitored?
- What support services are available to me? To my family?
- Whom do I call for questions or problems?