Lymphoma - Non-Hodgkin: Questions to Ask the Health Care Team

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2019

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 the 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, or download Cancer.Net’s free mobile app for a digital list and other interactive tools to manage your care. 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

  • Which type and subtype of lymphoma do I have?

  • Did a pathologist experienced in the diagnosis of lymphoma review the biopsy?

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

  • Should I get a second opinion? Will this include a specialized pathologist reviewing the biopsy?

  • How many patients do you see with this type of lymphoma each year?

  • Are you board certified? Do you have subspecialty boards in hematology, oncology, or radiation oncology?

  • Where in my body has the disease spread?

  • Which stage is the lymphoma? What does this mean?

  • Is my lymphoma curable? If so, what are the chances of a cure? If not, can the disease be controlled?

Questions to ask about choosing a treatment and managing side effects

  • What are my treatment options?

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

  • Why is watchful waiting sometimes appropriate? Is this an option for me?

  • Will I need surgery, therapy using medications, and/or radiation therapy?

  • 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?

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

  • Who will be leading my overall treatment?

  • 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 of cancer care, who can help me?

  • How can I stay as healthy as possible during and after treatment?

  • What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?

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

  • If I have questions or problems, who should I call?

Questions to ask about having therapy using medications

  • What type of treatment is recommended?

  • What is a monoclonal antibody? Is this treatment appropriate for me?

  • What is the goal of this treatment?

  • How long will it take to give this treatment?

  • What side effects can I expect during treatment?

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

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

  • What can be done to relieve the side effects?

Questions to ask about having radiation therapy

  • What type of treatment is recommended?

  • What is the goal of this treatment?

  • How long will it take to give this treatment?

  • What side effects can I expect during treatment?

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

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

  • What can be done to relieve the side effects?

Questions to ask about having a bone marrow/stem cell transplant

  • Which type of bone marrow transplant would you recommend? Why?

  • If I will have an ALLO transplant, how will we find a donor? What is the chance of a good match?

  • What type of treatment will I have before the transplant? Will radiation therapy be used?

  • How long will my treatment take? How long will I stay in the hospital?

  • How will a transplant affect my life? Can I work? Can I exercise and do regular activities?

  • How will we know if the transplant works?

  • What if the transplant does not work? What if the cancer comes back?

  • What are the short-term side effects that may happen during treatment or shortly after?

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

  • What are the long-term side effects that may happen years later?

  • What tests will I need later? How often will I need them?

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 I need them?

  • Is there anything I can do to prevent a recurrence of my lymphoma?

  • 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 some more resources on this website beyond this guide that may be helpful to you. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.