I'm about to begin treatment

Because deciding on a course of treatment is such an important and personal decision, you’ll want to learn as much as you can about your options and resolve any lingering questions you may have.

  • Questions to ask your oncologist
  • Next steps
  • Questions to ask your oncologist:

    Working with Your Doctors

    Find out how to build a comfortable working relationship with your care team in Your Guide to Cancer Care.

    • What treatments do you recommend for me, and why?
    • What are the goals of my treatment plan?
    • What are the risks and benefits of the treatments you recommend? Do any have long-term risks?
    • How much time can I take to make a treatment decision?
    • What side effects can I expect? Are there conventional or complementary therapies available that can help make treatment more tolerable or alleviate side effects?
    • Where do you recommend I go for treatment?
    • How long will my treatment last?
    • What are my other choices if I decide against this treatment plan?
    • Are there any clinical trials for my type of cancer that I should consider?
    • How will nutrition affect the way I’ll respond to treatment?

    Next Steps

    1. Get a second opinion. If the two doctors you meet have divergent opinions about the appropriate treatment for the cancer, you’ll have to make a decision about which approach — and doctor — you’re most comfortable with, or you can seek a third perspective.

    2. Obtain a copy of your medical records. Ask your doctors for copies of your chart and all of your test results to take with you to each of your appointments.

    The Wheat From the Chaff

    Learn how to tell which sources of online information you can trust in Your Guide to Cancer Care.

    3. Learn about treatment options. Researching the different options available, including both conventional and complementary therapies, can help you make informed decisions about your treatment.

    4. Compare treatment facilities. Oncology programs vary widely in size, quality, area of expertise, and treatment philosophy. Above all, you want to look for a facility that has extensive experience and state-of-the-art equipment available for treating the type of cancer you have.

    Insurance Options

    If you receive health insurance through your own or your partner’s employer, you may want to check to make sure that the plan in which you’re enrolled is the best suited to your current needs. If not, you may be able to make a switch during the employer’s open enrollment period.

    5. Get organized. Cancer affects more than just your health. It also has an impact on your financial, personal, and professional life. For instance, you may have to make changes to your work schedule, or take some time off, while you’re in treatment, or make arrangements for things like childcare or help with day-to-day chores.

    6. Take care of yourself. Eating a wholesome diet, getting enough rest, and staying as physically active as you are able will help you feel healthier and more confident throughout your treatment.

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