Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma: Questions to Ask the Health Care Team

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your doctor or other members of the health care team, to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. Use the menu to see other pages.

Talking often with your health care team 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. It may also be helpful to ask a family member or friend to come with you to appointments to help take notes. 

Questions to ask after getting a diagnosis

  • Where exactly is the tumor located?

  • Can you describe the stage of the cancer? What does this mean?

  • Is it possible to predict its future behavior?

  • Can you explain my pathology report, or laboratory test results, to me?

  • Did a pathologist with experience diagnosing salivary disease review my biopsy?

Questions to ask my surgeon

  • How often do you see patients with adenoid cystic carcinoma?

  • How often do you do this type of surgery?

  • What complications or problems have your patients experienced?

  • How long do you expect the surgery to take?

  • What can I expect during my recovery?

  • Who should I contact about any side effects I experience? And how soon?

  • What are the possible long-term or late effects of having this surgery?

  • When will we know if I need another type of cancer treatment after surgery?

Questions to ask about choosing a treatment plan

  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?

  • What clinical trials are available for me? Where are they located, and how do I find out more about them?

  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help me feel better, or both?

  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?

How much experience do they have treating adenoid cystic carcinoma (AdCC)W?

  • Who will be leading my overall treatment?

Questions to ask about managing side effects

  • What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and the long term?

  • Will there be changes to my appearance? How? For how long? Will I need reconstructive surgery or other procedures?

  • Will there be problems relating to saliva production or eating? If so, when? For how long?

  • Should I talk with an oncologic dentist before treatment begins?

  • Should I meet with a speech pathologist before treatment begins?

  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?

  • If I am worried about managing the costs of cancer care, who can help me?

  • How can I keep myself as healthy as possible during treatment?

  • 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 have questions or problems, who should I call?

Questions to ask about planning follow-up care

  • What is the chance that the cancer will come back? Should I watch for specific signs or symptoms?

  • What long-term side effects or late effects are possible based on the cancer treatment I received?

  • What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will those tests be needed?

  • How do I get a treatment summary and survivorship care plan to keep in my personal records?

  • Who will be leading my follow-up care?

  • What survivorship support services are available to me? To my family?

The next section in this guide is Additional Resources. It offers more resources on this website that may be helpful to you. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.