There are two aspects of a doctor-patient relationship that may be important to you. The first is knowing what questions to ask, and the second is knowing how to get the answers you need. Some WhatNexter’s have felt they don’t know what to ask their doctors or they are too timid to ask questions. Some have experienced trouble getting the attention they desire from their doctor.
Here are 10 questions to ask your doctor when you are first diagnosed with cancer and 10 suggestions from WhatNexter’s on ways to be assertive if you feel you aren’t getting the answers you need.
1. What type of cancer do I have? What stage is my cancer?
2. What is my current prognosis (outlook)?
3. What are my treatment options and what is the goal of my treatment?
4. What are the possible side effects of my treatment?
5. What kind of lifestyle changes will I have to make? Daily life? Family? Work?
6. Who will be in charge of my treatment plan?
7. What is the chance of recurrence with the treatment plan we have discussed?
8. How can I prepare for treatment? How can I stay healthy during treatment?
9. What about costs of treatment and insurance?
10. What is the best way to reach you if I have questions?
10 Tips on How to be Assertive With Your Doctor
If there is a communication gap between you and your doctor, these 10 tips from WhatNexter’s may help you get the answers you need.
1. Be up front about your expectations in your relationship.
2. Write down questions ahead of time and take them with you so you do not get frustrated and forget. They might appreciate that you came prepared.
3. If you feel they are doing a “hit and run” during your appointments then confront them about it.
4. Correspond with your doctor via email if they will allow it.
5. Make the last appointment of the day so that they do not feel rushed with other patients waiting after you.
6. Use your nurse as a mediator.
7. Tell them nicely that they are being insensitive and that you would appreciate if they were a little more mindful of your feelings.
8. Take someone with you who is more assertive.
9. Remind them that, while they have been through this before, you are new at it and scared.
What questions have you asked your doctor when first diagnosed with cancer that helped you understand your diagnosis and treatment options better? Do you have any tips for new patients on how to communicate with a doctor who does not seem to be giving them full attention?
Related Question: What are some tips on how to be assertive with doctors?