A cancer diagnosis—whether for you, a family member, or a friend—can be stressful and confusing. You will have a lot of questions.

Questions You May Want to Ask Your Nurse or Physician:

About Your Cancer

  • Do you typically treat patients with my diagnosis?
  • What stage is my cancer?
  • Is there anything unique about my cancer that makes my prognosis better or worse?
  • Should I get a second opinion?

About Cancer Treatment

  • What is the goal of treatment - to cure my cancer or stop it from growing?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What risks or potential side effects are associated with each treatment?
  • Are there any clinical trials that are right for me?
  • How long will I receive treatment, how often, and where?
  • How will it be given?
  • How will I know if the treatment is working?
  • How might a disruption in my chemotherapy dose or timing affect my results?
  • How and when will I be able to tell whether the treatment is working?
  • What are the names of all the drugs I will be taking?
  • Can I talk with another of your patients who has received this treatment?
  • Are there any resources or Web sites you recommend for more information?

About Tests

  • What types of tests will I need?
  • Can you explain the results of my complete blood count (CBC)?
  • Are there tests for the genetic make–up of my cancer?
  • Will I benefit from having my cancer evaluated for its genetic make–up?

About Side Effects of Treatment

  • What possible side effects should I prepare for?
  • When might they start?
  • How can I prepare for them or lessen their impact? 
  • Are there treatments that can help relieve the side effects?
  • How can I best monitor myself for complications related to either my disease or my treatment?

About Protecting Against Infection

  • Will my type of chemotherapy put me at risk for a low white blood cell count and infection?
  • What are the signs of infection?
  • How serious is an infection?
  • How are infections treated?

About Daily Activities

  • How will my cancer treatment affect my usual activities?
  • Will I be able to work?
  • Will I need to stay in the hospital?
  • Will I need someone to help me at home?
  • Will I need help taking care of my kids?
  • Are there any activities I should avoid during my chemotherapy?

About What to Expect After Treatment

  • What happens after I complete my treatment?
  • How can I best continue to monitor myself for complications related to either my disease or my treatment?
  • What kind of tests will I need and how frequently?
  • How often do I need to come in for checkups?
  • When will you know if I am cured?
  • What happens if my disease comes back?