Questions to ask your Doctors/ Oncologist

Finding out about a cancer diagnosis can be very scary and you may feel very vulnerable and confused. It is very common to feel anxious, worried, and emotional at this time.

Depending upon which stage your cancer is at you may have to make some important decisions, often, very quickly. Therefore, it is extremely important that you have all the right information so you can make an informed choice. It is your right to ask about anything you do not fully understand. You can ask these questions at any point of your diagnosis and/or your treatment journey. This will not affect your care.

The questions asked often vary depending on the stage and type of cancer you have but below is a list of some common questions you may wish to ask. Please note that not all will be relevant to your situation.

After Diagnosis

When you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer, it is often a very emotionally challenging time. It is extremely important to take some time to process what you have been told. Due to time constraints within hospital appointments, you are given a lot of information in a very short space of time. The doctor will ask you if you have any questions. It is advisable to take someone with you who can help you and ask any questions if you are unable to think on the spot. It may also be useful to have a list of questions prepared already to take with you, like the one below.

The most important thing to do after a diagnosis is to gather information and seek professional advice. Speak to the doctor, ideally a cancer specialist, nurses, trusted family members or friends. You may wish to consult other support networks such as SMCSN. Be wary of using the Internet. There is a lot of information out there and not all of it is factually correct. Please only consult reputable websites for information on cancer.

  1. What type of cancer do I have?
  2. Where is the cancer in my body?
  3. What stage is my cancer at?
  4. Do I have a common or rare cancer?
  5. Is my cancer aggressive? Will it grow or spread very quickly?
  6. What tests/ further tests will I need?

Deciding On A Treatment Option

  1. Will I need any operations, if so what type of operations?
  2. Are there any treatment options available for me, if so, what are they?
  3. What is the aim of the treatment offered to me?
  4. Is it to cure or to manage the cancer?
  5. Will there be a delay in my treatment and if so, will that impact my cancer?
  6. What are the benefits/ risks of the treatment options available?
  7. How do I decide between the treatments offered to me?
  8. What are the side effects of the treatment/treatments offered to me?
  9. Will the side effects disappear quickly, or will they be long term or permanent side effects?
  10. Will I lose my hair, if so, could you tell me more about the cold cap?
  11. Are there any clinical trials I need to be aware of that you would suggest I take part in?
  12. Would my treatment options change if I opt to be treated privately?
  13. How quickly after starting treatment will I know if I am responding to the treatment/ how will you check if am responding to treatment?
  14. Will I have other options if I do not respond to the first treatment?
  15. How often will I need to have tests/ scans during treatment?
  16. What if I choose not to have any treatment?
  17. What are my risks of re-occurrence, and can I do anything to contain that risk?
  18. How do you make decisions about my treatment plans?
  19. Do I need to undergo any genetic testing?
  20. I don’t want to go on google but I want to know more about my cancer, is there anything you would recommend?
  21. Are there any other treatments which may work just as well?
  22. Can my cancer continue to spread despite treatment?
  23. How often will my treatment be reviewed to make sure it is working?

Before or during treatment- Oncologist or Cancer Nurse

  1. Will I be able to work whilst having treatment?
  2. What lifestyle changes will I need to make?
  3. Will I be able to drive?
  4. Can I choose where I will be treated?
  5. Will I have to travel?
  6. Will I get help with travel or parking costs?
  7. Is it likely that I may have to stay in hospital during my treatment?
  8. When will my treatment start?
  9. How often will I have the treatment?
  10. How long will it take each time?
  11. When can I expect the side effects to start?
  12. Will I have some good days?
  13. Is it possible that I may qualify for some help or support at home during my treatment?
  14. Will there be any out of hours care or support in case I start feeling unwell?
  15. How long should I wait before contacting you?

After Treatment

  1. What happens once my treatment finishes?
  2. Will I need to take any medication/ if so, what will it be and for how long and what are the side effects?
  3. How long will it take before I start getting back to feeling normal?
  4. Will I still be under your care after my treatment finishes?
  5. How often will I be followed up in clinic?
  6. Who can I contact if I have problems in between follow up appointments?
  7. What are the long term or permanent side effects of my cancer and treatment?
  8. If I am worried about recurrence of the cancer, who should I speak to?
  9. Is there anything I can do to stop the cancer coming back?
  10. If the cancer comes back, what options will I have?
Safeena - Muslim Cancer Support Network

Safeena - Muslim Cancer Support Network

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