Nasopharyngeal Cancer: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2014

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 nasopharyngeal cancer do I have?
  • What is the stage and grade of the cancer? What does this mean?
  • Can you explain my pathology report to me?
  • What are the 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 cancer, help me feel better, or both?
  • Should I get an additional consultation or second opinion?
  • 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?
  • If surgery is needed, will it be necessary to have reconstruction done to replace lost tissue around the mandible (lower jaw bone)?
  • If surgery is needed, will there be a need for a neck dissection (removal of the lymph nodes)? If so, what type of dissection will be done? What does this mean?
  • Can you recommend an oncologic dentist before treatment begins?
  • Should I see a speech pathologist prior to treatment? Why or why not?
  • What are the possible side effects of each treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
  • What can be done to prevent or manage these side effects?
  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
  • What will type(s) of rehabilitation will I need after treatment has finished?
  • 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?
  • When can I expect to recover from the treatment effects?
  • What follow-up tests will be needed, and how often will I need them?
  • Will there be any lasting or late side effects that will need special care?
  • If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • 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.