CancerCare Coping Kit

Questions to ask Healthcare Providers

Questions to ask Healthcare Providers

Answers by healthcare professionals to the following questions can assist cancer patients and their caregivers develop a better understanding of the disease and the treatment options available. Select the questions which best suit the individual need.

General Medical Care

  • What is this illness called?
  • How do you want to treat this illness?
  • What are other ways to treat this illness?
  • What are the risks with these treatments?
  • What is the likely future of this illness with the recommended treatment?
  • Without the recommended treatment?
  • What is the time frame for the treatment?
  • Is a hospital stay necessary?
  • What is the expected recovery time?
  • What lifestyle changes may be expected in the future?

Medical Tests & Procedures

  • Is the recommended test or procedure necessary to confirm or disprove a diagnosis?
  • Will the findings of the test change the way the disease is managed?
  • What are the risks involved?
  • What happens if the patient refuses to undergo this test?
  • How expensive is the test and will it be covered by medical aid?
  • Will the test require a change in any of the medications the patient is taking?
  • What is the test procedure?
  • How will the test feel? Will it be painful?
  • How should the patient prepare for this test?
  • Will the patient need help getting home afterwards?
  • Who will interpret the test results?
  • Will someone call with the test results or should I phone for them?

How the Doctor’s Office Works

  • What days/hours is the office open?
  • How are medical emergencies handled?
  • When is the best time to reach the doctor by phone, fax or email?
  • Which method of communication does the doctor prefer?
  • Who can answer questions if the doctor is not available?
  • Who can I call after hours or when the doctor is away?

Source: National Family Caregivers Association


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