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Posted on in Cancer

Questions To Ask Your Oncologist About Your Cancer.

Much like winners in the TV game show “Jeopardy,” a cancer patient’s chances for success are greatly increased by putting their concerns in the form of a question. In fact, one recent study has shown that patients WANT to ask questions about and be more involved in decisions about their care.

“We know from experience that patients want to be engaged in the decisions about their care,” says McLeod Oncologist Dr. Michael Pavy. “For many cancer patients, the diagnosis signals a loss of control over their life. Not only does involvement in treatment decisions give a person back some sense of control, but also it’s truly the best approach we cancer specialists can take.”

A 315-page report issued by the Institute of Medicine specifically urges patient engagement in their treatment. One of the recommendations urges patients to ask their cancer specialists a list of 40 questions before going ahead with treatments. Key questions are:

  • If I can’t be cured, will I live longer with the recommended treatments? 
  • How much longer? 
  • How does the recommended treatment compare with other treatment options? 
  • What are the side effects, if any?

Patricia Ganz, MD an oncology specialist and chair of the committee that wrote the report says, “If you have a physician or team member that does not want to answer these questions, you need to find another set of providers.”

Click the document below to see the complete list of the forty questions is listed below:


To find a physician, click here

Sources: Institute of Medicine, American Cancer Society, American Society of Radiation Oncology, LIVESTRONG, American College of Surgeons, National Institutes of Health.


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