Questions to Ask Your Oncologist

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QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CANCER CARE TEAM DURING DIAGNOSIS
 
  • What type of lung cancer do I have?
  • Was my cancer confirmed by tissue diagnosis (that is, from a tissue biopsy) or cytology diagnosis (that is, from fluid samples or samples obtained by brushing or washing)?
  • What is the stage of my lung cancer? Where in my body is the cancer located?
  • Based on my diagnosis, am I a candidate for surgery?
  • Do I need any more tests before making the treatment plan?
  • Has a sample of my tumour been sent for molecular testing? Am I a candidate for targeted therapy?
  • Has a sample of my tumour been sent for PD-L1 testing? Am I a candidate for immunotherapy?
  • Is there anything I can do, such as changing my diet, exercising, or managing stress, to help prepare for treatment?
  • Where can I find help with quitting smoking?
  • What symptoms should I expect with this type of cancer? What can I do to manage them?
  • What should I do if my symptoms get worse or if I develop new symptoms?
  • Is this type of cancer hereditary? Is my family at risk?
 
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CANCER CARE TEAM ABOUT SURGERY
 
  • Am I a good candidate for surgery?
  • Will I be able to return to my normal life after surgery?
  • How will surgery affect my breathing?
  • What are the chances that surgery will remove all my cancer?
  • Should I consider undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy either before or after surgery?
  • What can I do to help prepare for surgery?
  • What can I do to help my recovery after surgery?
  • Can I join a respiratory rehabilitation or physiotherapy program to help with my recovery?
  • Can I exercise after surgery? Should I?
  • Am I eligible to participate in any clinical trials? 
 
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CANCER CARE TEAM ABOUT RADIATION THERAPY
 
  • What is the goal of this treatment?
  • What are the key differences between radiation and chemotherapy?
  • How long will my radiation treatments last?
  • Is there anything I should do to prepare for treatment?
  • Will I be able to return home by myself after treatment, or will I require assistance?
  • Are there any side effects or complications I should watch out for after the procedure?
  • Are there any medications that help with the side effects of radiation?
  • Will I be able to return to my normal life after radiation?
  • Is there anything I can do, such as changing my diet, exercising, or managing stress, to help cope during therapy or to help my recovery?
  • Am I eligible to participate in any clinical trials?
 
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CANCER CARE TEAM ABOUT CHEMOTHERAPY
 
  • What is the goal of chemotherapy treatment? Will it cure my cancer or just slow it down?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • What drugs will I receive and how do they work?
  • How long will my chemotherapy treatments last and how often will I receive treatment?
  • Will I be able to return home by myself after treatment, or will I require assistance?
  • What side effects might occur? How long will they last?
  • What can I do to prevent or cope with side effects?
  • Are any of the side effects permanent?
  • Who can I contact if I develop any side effects?
  • Are there medications to help with side effects?
  • When will I be able to return to my normal activities after chemotherapy?
  • Is there anything I can do, such as changing my diet, exercising, or managing stress, to help cope during chemotherapy or to help my recovery?
  • Am I eligible to participate in any clinical trials? 
 
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CANCER CARE TEAM ABOUT TARGETED THERAPY
 
  • What mutations were found in my biopsy sample? What are my treatment options?
  • Should my cancer be tested for other mutations?
  • What is the goal of targeted therapy?
  • How long will this treatment last and how often will I receive it?
  • What drugs will I receive and how do they work?
  • What side effects might occur and what can I do to cope?
  • Are any of the side effects permanent?
  • Who can I contact if I develop any side effects?
  • Are there drugs to help with side effects?
  • Am I eligible to participate in any clinical trials?

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CANCER CARE TEAM ABOUT IMMUNOTHERAPY
 
  • What is the goal of immunotherapy?
  • Am I a candidate for immunotherapy? What are my treatment options?
  • How long will this treatment last and how often will I receive it?
  • What drugs will I receive and how do they work?
  • What side effects might occur and what can I do to prevent or cope with them?
  • Are there any side effects for which I should go to the emergency room?
  • Should I bring anything with me (like an information card) to let the ER doctors know about my immunotherapy?
  • Are any of the side effects permanent?
  • Who can I contact if I develop any side effects?
  • Are there medications to help with side effects?
  • When will I be able to return to my normal activities after immunotherapy?
  • Is there anything I can do, such as changing my diet, exercising, or managing stress, to help cope during therapy or to help my recovery?
  • Am I eligible to participate in any clinical trials? 
 
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CANCER CARE TEAM ABOUT FOLLOW-UP VISITS
 
  • Who will be in charge of my long-term care?
  • How often should I return for follow-up visits? Is there a regular schedule?
  • Who will arrange these visits?
  • What do you look for during follow-up visits? Will I have to do any tests?
  • What long-term side effects might occur, and what can I do to prevent or cope with them?
  • What symptoms should I look out for? Who should I contact if I develop any of them?
  • Is there anything I can do, such as changing my diet, exercising, or managing stress, to help my recovery and keep my cancer from coming back?
  • Will I receive any support and care at home?
 
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR CLINICAL TRIAL TEAM
 
  • Why is this study a good option for me?
  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • Who is going to be in the study?
  • Why do researchers believe the experimental treatment may be effective?
  • Has it been tested before?
  • What kinds of tests and experimental treatments are involved?
  • How do the possible risks, side effects, and benefits of the experimental treatment compare with my current treatment?
  • What happens if I receive the placebo, control drug, or chemotherapy instead of the experimental treatment? Will I get a chance to get the experimental treatment later?
  • Who will be in charge of my care?
  • How might this trial affect my daily life?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • Will hospitalization be required?
  • Will I be reimbursed for expenses?
  • What type of long-term follow-up care is part of this study?
  • How will I know that the experimental treatment is working?
  • Will I be given the results of the study?

Disclaimer: Information contained in this information sheet is intended for general information only and should not replace professional medical advice, assessment and evaluation. These resources are not a substitute for the personalized judgment and care of a trained medical professional. Consult a qualified healthcare professional before making any medical decision or if you have questions about your individual medical situation. Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read in this information sheet. Lung Cancer Canada tries to ensure that the information in this information sheet is accurate and reliable, but cannot guarantee its accuracy or that it is error free or complete. Lung Cancer Canada does not endorse any product, treatment, or therapy, nor does it evaluate the quality of services provided by any organization mentioned in this information.