Treatment-Related Questions to Ask Your Doctor (General)

  • Is it alright if I audio-tape our conversation?
  • Is there a cure for my condition? What is my prognosis, as you see it?
  • How does my past medical history affect which treatments are options for me?
  • Based on the stage of my disease, what is your recommended treatment option?
  • What is the goal of treatment?
  • How long will I have to undergo the treatment?
  • What are the names of the drugs I require and what are they for?
  • How long does each course of the treatment take?
  • What are the potential benefits and drawbacks of this treatment?
  • What are the common side effects of the recommended treatment?
  • What should I do if I experience severe side effects? Telephone # to call:____________________________________________________
  • What can I do to safeguard against the onset of side effects?
  • How will you know that my treatment is working?
  • How can I expect to feel during treatment?
  • How long should it take the treatment to work?
  • What happens if I miss a treatment?
  • How will my condition be monitored after my cancer treatment?
  • Can I work during treatment if I wish to do so?
  • What other types of colorectal cancer treatments are available?
  • What are the benefits, disadvantages, and possible complications of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and biological therapy (immunotherapy) for colorectal cancer?
  • What do these colorectal cancer treatments involve?
  • How often should I be seen for followup appointments?
  • Why do I need blood tests and how often will I need them?
  • Is combination chemotherapy a treatment option that is appropriate for me?
  • If I decide to receive combination chemotherapy, what is my chance of remaining disease-free?
  • If I decide not to receive combination chemotherapy, what is my chance of remaining disease-free?
  • What will the treatment schedule look like in terms of how many days I will need to come into the clinic, how long I will have to stay each day, and how many days after a treatment I might need to take off work or limit other plans?
  • Are there any “high-risk” features of my tumor that make it more important for me to consider combination chemotherapy?
  • Is the recommended therapy covered? If not, will my third party insurance plan cover the therapy?
  • If I do not have third party coverage, what are my options?
  • Which center would be able to provide the best treatment for my cancer?
  • When should I start treatment?
  • Is it ok to wait to start treatment as a result of ….?
  • Will I need to spend time in the hospital? If so, for how long?
  • If I have treatment, could my cancer return?
  • For each possible treatment option, what are the chances that my cancer might come back?
  • If the cancer comes back, can it again be treated successfully? If so, what treatments are available to me in the event of a recurrence?
  • For Stages 1, 2, and 3: Should I have additional treatment, even if the cancer is removed by surgery?
  • Stage 4/Recurrent/Relapsed: Will the results of the treatment be worth the side effects I may suffer?
  • Can I choose a less aggressive treatment so as to keep me comfortable?
  • What will happen if I refuse further treatment?
  • What happens if I react badly to treatment and need to stop? Will we try something else instead?
  • What possible long-term effects might occur as a result of the treatment?
  • Once I finish treatment, how will I be monitored for recurrent cancer?
  • What followup tests will be done and at what intervals?
  • Do you regularly measure CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen) levels? If so, how often? What will you do if this level increases?
  • If other specialists take part in my care, who will coordinate my entire treatment program?
  • If I don’t feel ill, does this mean the treatment is not working?
  • Are there any steps I should take during or after treatment to help myself stay healthy?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that I should consider?
  • Does my colorectal cancer diagnosis mean I am at higher risk for any other type of cancer?
  • Is a clinical trial appropriate for my situation? Why or why not? Would I receive better medications?
  • What types of experimental colon cancer treatments are being developed?
  • Can you recommend a local or online support group for people who have colorectal cancer and for their families to me?
  • For younger patients: Will the treatments affect my ability to have children? Is there a way to protect my fertility?
  • What is the best time to call you if I have a question? Telephone #________