21 Questions to Ask Your Oncologist
- What cancer do I have?
- How many patients have you treated with this type of cancer?
- Because the stage of my cancer affects the options I have for treatment, what is my cancer’s stage? What does that stage mean? How does this affect my treatment options?
- What other tests do I need to have to confirm my diagnosis and to know if it has spread to any other parts of my body? (e.g., MRI, CT, PET, bone scan, etc.)
- I want a comprehensive genomic sequencing (or a “full panel”) test of my cancer (not limiting the testing to genes that have approved treatments). What do we need to do to obtain this?
- How much does genomic sequencing (full panel) cost? How long before I get my results?
- Will my cancer respond to immunotherapy? Can I have the testing necessary to determine this (e.g., Tumor Mutational Burden, Microsatellite Instability, Lymphocyte Infiltration, PD-L1 Expression, etc.)
- What is your recommended treatment strategy?
- What is the goal of this treatment strategy? Cure, prolong life, or manage symptoms and side effects of the cancer?
- What is the 5-year survival rate for the cancer treatment you are recommending?
- How effective is the treatment you are suggesting based on the identified drivers of my cancer?
- How can I learn more about the treatment you are proposing?
- What risks are there for your recommended treatment strategy?
- What are the short-term and long-term side effects of your recommended treatment(s)?
- How would this treatment affect my daily activities – work, physical, driving, sleeping, etc.?
- What do I need to do to prepare for, and during, my treatment – exercise, diet, etc.? May I speak to someone from your Integrative/Complementary Medicine Center to discuss helpful options/guidelines?
- What tests will you order to know if the treatment is working? When we will that take place?
- If I have questions during my treatment, whom do I call?
- What side effects should I look out for and when should I call you if I am experiencing those side effects?
- Can you put me in contact with someone you’ve treated with this treatment plan?
- What cancer center/academic research center is doing the most research on my type of cancer? Can you refer me to this cancer/research center for a second opinion?
- Should that cancer/research center offer a targeted treatment plan or clinical trial that you don’t offer, would you be willing to collaborate with them for follow-up care?
- Fertility preservation for me or my child who will undergo treatment.
- Resources for patients (navigation services, financial, survivorship, integrative/alterative medicines, emotional support, etc.)
- How should I share my hopes and expectations with my family?
- Who is my point of contact? How do I contact them?
Name: ________________________________ Title: ___________________________
Email: ________________________________ Phone: _________________________