Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Talking With the Doctors and Nurses

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2011

Talking with your doctors and nurses can be difficult at first, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Here are some tips to help make talking with your doctor easier:

  • Let your parents (or guardians) know that you want to be involved so they can make sure you're included.
  • Think of questions to ask the doctor before your appointment, write them down, and then make sure you ask them.
  • Ask for an explanation if you hear something you don't understand.
  • If you have a suggestion or preference about your care, let your doctors or nurses know—maybe you want to delay a round of chemotherapy, so you can go to a party or ball game. The answer may be "yes," but you won't know if you don't ask.
  • Ask your parents or an adult who takes you to your appointment or treatment to take notes so you remember all of the information. Learn more about keeping track of your health.

Sharing your feelings

Nobody knows your body better than you. Doctors and nurses are experts in treating cancer and want to help you, but they are not mind readers. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Talk honestly about how you are feeling.
  • Be straightforward about how you are feeling, including any side effects. It's important for your health care team to know how your body is dealing with the cancer and the treatment.
  • If you are in the hospital, tell the nurses and other hospital staff what you need. The doctors, nurses, and trained volunteers are there to help you be as comfortable as possible.
  • If you still feel a little uncomfortable at first, ask your parents to help you find the right words.

More Information

Finding Help and Support

Cancer in Teens

Additional Resources

Group Loop: Visiting the Doctor

© 2005-2014 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.

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