Questions to Ask Your Doctor

The more knowledge you have, the easier it is to make decisions about your cancer treatment. Do not be shy about speaking with your doctor.

Some general questions to ask:

  • What kind of cancer do I have?
  • How far advanced is my cancer? (What stage is it?)
  • Should I get a second opinion?
  • What are all my treatment options?
  • What treatments are best for me?
  • Will I have to stay in the hospital for treatment? How long?
  • Will treatment keep me from doing certain things I enjoy?
  • How often will I be checked after treatment?
  • Can I go back to normal daily activities after treatment?
  • Are there any clinical trials that might be beneficial?
  • What has been your experience with cancer patients similar to me?
  • Can you recommend any patient support groups in my area?
  • Are there materials I can read about my cancer?

Questions to ask about chemotherapy:

  • What specific type of chemotherapy is right for me?
  • Can chemotherapy ease my symptoms?
  • What can I do to cope with side effects?
  • Should I consider chemotherapy as a preventative treatment?
  • How long will my chemotherapy treatments last?
  • Will I be able to return to my normal activities after chemotherapy?
  • What experiences have other patients had with similar chemotherapy regimens?

Questions to ask about surgery:

  • Am I a good candidate for surgery?
  • How soon will I be able to return to normal activities after surgery?
  • What are the chances that surgery will remove all of my cancer?
  • Should I consider undergoing chemotherapy or radiation after surgery to make sure all the cancer is destroyed?
  • What exercises can I do after surgery to get stronger?
  • How do your other surgery patients feel about the procedure?

Questions to ask about clinical trials:

  • What are the possible risks and benefits?
  • What are possible side effects of the treatment?
  • How long will the trial last?
  • Will I have to travel to another hospital, city, or state?
  • Will my insurance cover the costs?
  • Can I have family members with me when I receive treatment?
  • Will I have to change doctors during the trial?

Talk with your doctor about clinical trials that interest you. It is important to remember that while clinical trials can be helpful, there is no guarantee that treatments still under investigation will be beneficial.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 01 Mar 2001

Last Modified: 04 Nov 2014