Eye Cancer: Questions to Ask the Doctor

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2015

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.

Questions to ask after getting a diagnosis

  • What type of eye cancer do I have?

  • Where exactly is the tumor located?

  • What stage is the eye cancer? What grade is it? What does this mean?

  • What is the likelihood that the cancer is metastatic?

  • Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?

  • Do you recommend any additional diagnostic tests, such as cytogenetics or gene expression profiling?

  • Who can help me interpret the results of this test(s)?

  • Do I need treatment right away?

Questions to ask about choosing a treatment and managing side effects

  • What experience do you have in treating patients with this type of cancer?

  • What are my treatment options?

  • What clinical trials are open to? 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?

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

  • Is loss of vision a possible side effect? If so, when could vision changes occur?

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

  • Who will be coordinating my overall treatment?

  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, or 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 should I call for questions or problems?

  • Is there anything else I should be asking?

Questions to ask about having surgery

  • What type of surgery will I have? Why?

  • How long will the operation take?

  • How long will I be in the hospital?

  • Can you describe what my recovery from surgery will be like?

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

  • Will I have problems with my vision afterwards, either immediately or in the long term?

Questions to ask about loss of an eye, if needed

  • How do I adjust to only having one eye?

  • How long will it take me to recover physically?

  • What rehabilitation services are available to help me cope with this?

  • How soon can I get a prosthesis (artificial eye)?

  • When do I get a permanent prosthesis?

  • How do I care for my prosthesis?

Questions to about having radiation therapy

  • What kind of radiation therapy will I receive?

  • What is the goal of this treatment?

  • How long will it take to give this treatment?

  • What does the preparation for this treatment involve?

  • What is the likelihood of having radiation damage to my eye?

  • What is the risk of vision loss?

  • What other side effects can I expect from this treatment?

  • What are the possible long-term effects of having this treatment

  • What can be done to relieve the side effects?

Questions to ask about follow-up care

  • What is the risk of the cancer returning? Are there signs and symptoms I should watch for?

  • 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 I need them?

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

  • Who will be coordinating my follow-up care?

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

The next section in this guide is Additional Resources, and it offers some more resources on this website beyond this guide that may be helpful to you. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.