Neuroendocrine Tumor of the Pancreas: Questions to Ask the Health Care Team

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 06/2019

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 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 your appointments to help take notes.

Questions to ask after getting a diagnosis

  • Is the tumor functional or non-functional? What does this mean?

  • Has the tumor spread outside the pancreas?

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

  • What is the stage of the tumor? What does this mean?

  • What is the grade of the tumor and degree of differentiation? What does this mean?

  • How much experience do you have treating this type of tumor?

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?

  • What treatment plan do you recommend? Why?

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

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

  • What medications will reduce these side effects?

  • Do I need to start treatment right away?

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

  • Who will lead my overall treatment?

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

  • Are there medications that can help control symptoms my tumor causes?

  • 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 treatment begins?

  • If I’m worried about managing the costs of medical care, who can help me?

  • 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 surgery

  • What type of surgery do you recommend?

  • Can surgery remove the entire tumor? Why or why not? If not, can surgery be done to debulk the tumor? What is the benefit of this?

  • Can you explain what will happen during the surgery?

  • How long will the operation take?

  • How long will I need to be in the hospital?

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

  • Will this surgery affect my ability to digest food? How? For how long?

  • Will I need to take medicine, hormones, or enzymes after this surgery? For how long?

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

  • What can be done to prevent or manage these side effects?

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

Questions to ask about having therapies using medication

  • What drug(s) do you recommend?

  • What is the goal of this treatment?

  • How will the treatment be given? Through an IV, orally, or injected?

  • How often will I receive this treatment? For how long?

  • Will I receive this treatment at a hospital or clinic? Or will I take it at home?

  • How can I best prepare myself for 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 taking this medication?

  • What can be done to prevent or manage these side effects?

Questions to ask about planning follow-up care

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

  • What long-term side effects or late effects are possible based on the 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 lead 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 that may be helpful to you. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.