Lymphoma - Non-Hodgkin: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2014

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 caused my lymphoma?
  • Which type and subtype of lymphoma do I have?
  • Did a pathologist experienced in the diagnosis of lymphoma review the biopsy?
  • Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
  • Should I get a second opinion? Will this include a specialized pathologist reviewing the biopsy?
  • How many patients do you see with this type of lymphoma each year?
  • Are you Board certified? Do you have sub-specialty boards in hematology, oncology, or radiation oncology?
  • Where in my body has the disease spread?
  • Which stage is the lymphoma? What does this mean?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Will I need surgery, chemotherapy, and/or radiation therapy?
  • What is immunotherapy? Is this treatment appropriate for me?
  • What clinical trials are open to me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?
  • Why is it sometimes appropriate to “watch and wait?” Is this an option for me?
  • What treatment plan do you recommend?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help me feel better, or both?
  • Is my lymphoma curable? If so, what are the chances of a cure? If not, can the disease be controlled?
  • 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 cancer treatment begins?
  • If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • How can I stay as healthy as possible during and 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.