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.
- 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?
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.