Day 28 – QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER ASKING YOUR DOCTOR if you’ve been diagnosed with Lung Cancer
Communicating with your health care team and trusted advisors is imperative when navigating the medical path of lung cancer. Knowledge can help us feel in control of our options and decisions and help us make informed choices. We can maintain hope and positive perspective while educating ourselves as well!
- What kind of lung cancer do I have? What does that mean?
- Where is the cancer located?
- Has it spread to other areas of my body?
- What ‘stage’ is my cancer in?
- May I get a copy of my scans and tests? How will I learn about future results?
- What is the likely outcome / prognosis (***Ask only IF you truly want to know!! … And tell your doctor and care team SPECIFICALLY that you do NOT want to know if you don’t!!***)
- What experience do you have treating this particular type of lung cancer?
- How do I reach you outside of office hours if there is an emergency?
- A second opinion would help me feel more comfortable with the treatment we are choosing; how do I go about that?
- How do I find out more about my type and stage of lung cancer, as well as my treatment options?
- Are there support groups and other helpful people who might be able to help me through this emotional journey, as well as to help navigate the medical side?
Considering Treatment and Your Future:
- What is the goal of my treatment? (To cure my cancer, to stabilize or slow its growth, or to lessen my symptoms? (“Curative” or “Palliative”?))
- What are my treatment options? What would you recommend for me, and why?
- How will we know that the treatment is working? Will I need special tests, and if so, what kind of tests, how frequently, and how much will they cost?
- Will my cancer come back after treatment? What happens then?
- May we consider genome/DNA testing to see if specific emerging therapies might work for me?
- Will I still be able to have children?
- Will my insurance cover treatment? How much will it cost?
- Will the medications and supplements I take for other illnesses affect my treatment?
- Where will treatment take place?
- When would you recommend that I start treatment?
- How long will each treatment session be? How many sessions will I have?
- Do I need to do anything specifically to prepare for treatment, or what I will feel like after treatment?
- What are the risks of each kind of treatment?
- How might treatment affect my lifestyle? (Work, energy, sex life, activities of daily living such as getting dressed and cooking; how will this affect my ‘spunk’…?)
- Will I need assistance to do my daily activities?
- How long will it take to recuperate?
- Will it hurt?
- Will I need to change my diet or lifestyle?
- Is there anything I can do personally to improve my condition and/or prognosis?
- What are the most common short-term and long-term side effects that you see with each treatment? How can I best manage them? Is there anything that might happen that I should call about right away?
- How are the side effects of treatment and symptoms of my cancer similar ~ and different? What can I expect from each?
- Will I lose my hair?
- Could a “palliative care specialist” help me manage my pain, symptoms and side effects, and emotional roller-coaster? What is the difference between palliative and Hospice care?
- Are there legal issues I need to consider, such as sharing in writing my medical wishes, who will make my decisions if I cannot, when/if someone should try to resuscitate me, etc? (Called “Advance Directives”: Living Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, etc)
- Should I consider a clinical trial? How would I find out about trials or studies? How would I apply?
- Will I have any limitations after treatment?
- How would I know if my cancer comes back? What should I watch for, and how will we follow up?
- Are emerging therapies and/or alternative therapies an option for me?
- Is there a chance that another treatment option will become available during this treatment?
- Will my family members have an increased likelihood of developing lung cancer?
- How would I decide to have, cancel or change treatment? Can I change my mind about any treatment and at any time?
- What would my quality of life and care be like if I chose to stop actively treating my cancer?
- What am I not asking that I should be???