Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Sarcoma

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 1/2013
Questions to Ask the Doctor

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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.

General questions:

  • What type of sarcoma has been diagnosed?
  • Has this diagnosis been reviewed by a pathologist who is experienced in the diagnosis and classification of sarcoma?
  • What does my diagnosis mean?
  • Where is the tumor located?
  • What is the sarcoma’s stage and grade? What does this mean?
  • Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
  • Should I see a sarcoma specialist?
  • Was my case discussed in a multidisciplinary conference? What does this mean?
  • 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 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 cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?
  • What support services are available to me? To my family?
  • Whom do I call for questions or problems?

Questions to ask before surgery:

  • Should I have a biopsy before surgery?
  • What will happen during this surgery?
  • Will the surgery be performed in en-bloc resection? What does this mean?
  • How experienced is this surgeon with sarcoma? How many sarcoma operations has he or she done in the past year?
  • What are the possible side effects of my surgery, both in the short term and long term?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital for this surgery? For how long?
  • Does the stage of cancer affect the decision for surgery? How?
  • Do I need chemotherapy and/or radiation before the surgery? After the surgery?
  • Will I need rehabilitative services after the surgery?

Questions to ask before radiation therapy:

  • What type of radiation therapy is recommended?
  • How experienced is the radiation oncologist with sarcoma? How many people with sarcoma has he or she treated in the past year?
  • How many treatments will I need, and how long will each one take?
  • What side effects can I expect from this treatment?
  • What can be done to prevent or to treat the side effects?

Questions to ask before chemotherapy or targeted therapy:

  • What type of medication is recommended?
  • How experienced is the medical oncologist with sarcoma? How many people with sarcoma has he or she treated in the past year?
  • Are there other chemotherapy or targeted treatments available?
  • Should I consider a clinical trial?
  • How many treatments will I need, and how long will each take?
  • What side effects can I expect from this treatment?
  • What can be done to prevent or manage these side effects?

After treatment:

  • What are the chances that the sarcoma will return?
  • What follow-up tests do I need, and how often do I need them?

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