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Deciding on Your Cancer Treatment: Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Tips on Getting the Most From Your Appointments During Cancer Care

During your first few appointments with your cancer doctor, it’s going to be tough to keep track of all the details. You’ll be flooded with information: the names of doctors, medications, cancer treatments, and inevitably, a good dose of medical jargon. Here are some ways to make your appointments as useful as possible.

  • Take notes. Always go to your meetings with a pad and paper to write things down. You may also want to record your visit.
  • Bring a partner. Obviously, a friend or loved one can provide moral support during a tense conversation. But he or she can also play an important practical role. Your partner may remember details that you were simply too overwhelmed to take in. Or he or she may prompt you to ask important questions that you forgot.
  • Ask for information to bring home. At the end of your meeting, see if your doctor has any literature or other sources of information about your cancer or the cancer treatments he or she has recommended. Having something you can read over at home -- when you’re out of the stressful environment of the doctor’s office -- can be enormously helpful.
  • Get a phone number. It’s pretty much certain: once you get home, you’ll think of many questions you wanted to ask about your cancer treatment but didn’t. So always ask your doctor for his or her card. Find out how you can get in touch with your doctor -- or an oncology nurse in the office -- to ask further questions.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 11, 2014
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