Questions for Your Doctor
A diagnosis of cancer, especially a rare form such as mesothelioma, can be a daunting experience. Patients, as well as their family and loved ones are encouraged to discuss their diagnosis in depth with their doctor, as there is a lot of information pertaining to the disease’s treatment options and prognosis. A consultation between physician and patient can not only offer information concerning their current condition, but what the patient can expect in the coming months, along with possible side effects of treatments and upcoming clinical trials.
Talking with a doctor can be an intimidating process, and some patients may not be sure where to begin or what questions are important. Provided below are some questions patients can discuss with their doctor concerning mesothelioma:
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Type of Mesothelioma
- What type of mesothelioma do I have?
- What is the difference between the different types?
- How likely is it that my form of cancer will recur?
- What stage is my cancer in?
- Will my stage advance?
- What does staging mean as it pertains to my prognosis and treatment options?
- What are my options for treatment?
- Which of these options do you think will work best for me and why?
- What are the risks and side effects associated with my treatment options?
- How long will the treatment process take, including both the treatment itself and my recovery time?
- Can I still work while undergoing this form of treatment?
- What is the best way to prepare for this treatment?
- What type of follow-up might I need following treatment?
- Will this treatment affect my daily activities?
- Are there clinical trials available for my form of cancer?
- What are the risks associated with clinical trials?
- Is my form of cancer curable?
- What is my prognosis and what does that mean?
- What is my survival rate and my long-term chances of survival?
- Are there differing medical opinions concerning my type of cancer?
- Do you recommend a second opinion?
Some of the questions posed above are difficult to ask, with equally difficult answers. However, awareness concerning the patient’s specific situation is extremely important, and no topic should be avoided. Most doctors and other specialists will be happy to offer recommendations for patients wishing to seek a second opinion and should be able to offer patients information concerning leading mesothelioma specialists and cancer centers.
Having a list of prepared questions can help the patient remember the topics they want to discuss, as well as help initiate a more thorough understanding of their disease. Patients are encouraged to bring along a method for noting their doctor’s responses which can make it easier to revisit these topics later among conversations with family and loved ones.
Not being afraid to be engaged and ask questions should be the patient’s prerogative throughout their diagnostic and prognostic process.