8 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before You Start Cancer Treatment

In In The News by Barbara Jacoby

From: Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology

Receiving news of a cancer diagnosis is a scary moment in any person’s life. All kinds of thoughts race through your mind, but for most patients, the most prevalent is, “How will I get better?” Getting better starts with finding the right doctor, and trusting him or her to guide you through your treatments and on to the rest of your life.

When we talk about establishing trust with your doctor, we’re not encouraging you to blindly accept whatever he or she says. You should be an active participant in your treatment plan. You have every right to ask your doctor questions about your cancer and how he or she recommends treating it, whether other treatment options exist, and more.

Questions to Ask Your Oncologist to Build Trust

Sometimes patients feel uncomfortable asking a medical professional “too many” questions, but the best doctors will want to ensure that you feel heard and will be transparent and informative about your treatment options. After all, they’re human as well (some are even cancer survivors themselves).

With that in mind, here are a few things we advise you to ask your doctor about before proceeding with cancer treatment:

  • Are you board-certified and in what specialty or subspecialty?
  • What other relevant qualifications do you possess?
  • How much experience do you have in cancer treatment, especially in the treatment you are offering for the type of cancer I have?
  • How many people you have treated in the last year or longer?
  • What hospitals do you work with?
  • Do you work with other specialists or other healthcare providers, and will they be part of my treatment team?
  • Will you consult with another doctor about my condition, and can I get their name?
  • Can you recommend another doctor so I can ask for a second opinion?

You may also ask about clinical trials available in your area, which may allow you access to the latest technological and scientific advances.

We believe that doctor-patient trust is crucial, and asking these questions is the best way to establish that.