Talking to your doctor
To get the most out of your visit to your doctor:
- request a longer appointment if you have a number of issues to discuss
- prepare your questions beforehand
- take a friend or relative for support, or to write down answers to your questions if possible
- ask your doctor to explain again, if you don’t understand the answers
- ask your doctor to give you a written summary of your treatment plan
- ask for an interpreter if you have difficulty communicating in English (contact the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50)
- What is the name of my cancer or condition?
- Is it slow or fast growing?
- Which part or parts of my body are affected?
- Is it possible to cure or control my cancer?
Questions about tests
- What will this test involve?
- What information will you get?
- What are the benefits and risks to me in having this test?
- Will the results of this test make any difference to the decision on what type of treatment I have?
Questions about treatment
- What is the aim of each treatment? Is it to cure, control, prevent spread, prevent recurrence or relieve symptoms?
- What difference will this treatment make to my quality of life eg. can I work, have sex?
- What are the possible side-effects of treatment? Can they be prevented or controlled? Are they temporary or permanent?
- What if this treatment does not work?
- Are there any complementary therapies that I can have?
- I would like a couple of weeks to make a decision. Will that make any difference?
- Who are the members of my treatment team?
- Are there any clinical trials suitable for me?
If your cancer is advanced
- What treatments are available to relieve my symptoms?
- Who will be responsible for my medical care?
- What help can my family and/or friends get if they care for me at home?
- How can I access palliative care?
Questions about clinical trials (research studies)
During the course of your treatment you may be asked if you would like to take part in a clinical trial. Questions to ask include:
- What would I have to do as part of the clinical trial?
- What are the possible side-effects?
- What are the benefits and risks for me?
- Do I have the right to refuse?
- Can I withdraw from the clinical trial at anytime?
- Are these studies important for me or others?