Leukemia treatment depends on a number of factors, including the type and stage of the disease and the patient's age and overall health. Patients who have been diagnosed with leukemia should work closely with their health care team (e.g., oncologist, hematologist, radiation oncologist) to develop a leukemia treatment plan.

Here are some questions to ask your doctor about leukemia, leukemia diagnosis, and leukemia treatment. Print this page, check off the questions you would like answered, and take it with you to your appointment. The more knowledge you have, the easier it is to make decisions about your cancer treatment.

Questions to Ask about Leukemia Diagnosis

  • What type of leukemia do you suspect I have? Why do you think I have this type?
  • What kinds of diagnostic tests will I need? Why do you recommend these tests?
  • How do I prepare for these diagnostic tests?
  • Are there any risks associated with these tests? What do I do if I experience complications, such as bleeding, infection, or severe pain after my tests? Telephone number to call:
  • When will the results of my tests be available? Should I call for the results or will someone contact me? Telephone number to call: Date to call:
  • Will I have a bone marrow biopsy? If so, what does this test involve?
  • Will the bone marrow sample be taken from my hip or from another bone?
  • How long will the bone marrow biopsy take? Will I be awake for the biopsy or will I be under general anesthesia?
  • How will my pain be controlled during and after my bone marrow biopsy?
  • Are there any restrictions associated with this procedure? If so, when can I return to my normal activities following the biopsy? Date:

Questions to Ask about Leukemia Treatment

  • What type of leukemia do I have?
  • What is the stage and classification of my leukemia?
  • What is the prognosis for this type of leukemia?
  • Do you recommend that I get a second medical opinion? Why or why not?
  • Will my health insurance cover my medical care and expenses?
  • What course of leukemia treatment do you recommend? Why do you recommend this type of treatment?
  • What are the benefits, possible side effects, and complications of this leukemia treatment?
  • How will this treatment be administered, how often will I receive treatments, and how long will each treatment take?
  • How long will my total course of treatment last?
  • How can I prepare for treatment? Are there lifestyle changes that might make my treatment easier?
  • How should I expect to feel during treatment?
  • Do you expect that I will be able to continue my normal activities during treatment? If not, when can I return to work and other daily activities? Date: Restrictions:
  • What should I do if I experience severe side effects or serious complications during my treatment? Telephone number to call:
  • How will my disease and overall condition be monitored during treatment? How often will I have checkups?
  • If initial treatment is unsuccessful and my condition does not improve or worsens during treatment, what other options might be available?
  • Might I require hospitalization during my leukemia treatment?
  • If drugs will be used to treat my leukemia (e.g., chemotherapy, targeted therapy, biological therapy), what specific medications will I receive? What side effects might I experience from these medications?
  • How can I help prevent or reduce drug side effects?
  • Are there any long-term effects associated with these medications used to treat leukemia?
  • Might I need a stem cell transplant? If so, what kind of transplant will be performed?
  • Will a stem cell donor be necessary? If so, what does this process involve?
  • What complications are associated with stem cell transplant?
  • How can I reduce my risk for serious complications?
  • How long will I be in the hospital before and after my stem cell transplant?
  • What kind of special care will I need before and after the procedure?
  • Who should I contact if I have questions or experience complications after my stem cell transplant? Telephone number to call:
  • How will you know if my stem cell transplant is working?
  • What signs indicate that my leukemia is in remission?
  • Next appointment: Doctor: Date: Time:

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 28 Jan 2009

Last Modified: 24 Sep 2015