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Questions to Ask Your Doctor

When meeting with your doctor to discuss your illness and pain and symptom management, write down your questions prior to your visits. Tell your doctor that you welcome his or her honesty and ask for clarification if needed. It also can be helpful to bring someone you can trust to take notes so you can review what you talked about later.

  • How do you think this illness will affect me in the short term (6-12 months)? In the long term (3-5 years)?
  • How many cases similar to mine have you treated before?
  • What tests and procedures will be done and why?
  • What are my treatment options? For each option discussed, ask:
    • Will this treatment cure my illness?
    • If not, will this treatment prolong my life? For how long?
    • Will my insurance cover this treatment?
    • What will I have to pay out of pocket for this treatment?
    • Will this treatment help make me feel better and improve my quality of life?
    • Will there be any symptoms or negative effects I should be aware of?
    • Will I be able to continue working or driving during treatment?
    • Will I be able to stay at home during treatment?
    • If I can stay at home, what type of help will I need during treatment?
    • Do you have any studies or statistics on the success of the treatment that you can share with me?
    • How long will it be before we can evaluate the results of my treatment?
    • Who in your office can I call in case I have questions? What are their hours of availability?
    • Do you have specific information you can provide for me to help me make a decision?

If you choose not to have treatments or choose to stop treatment, ask your doctor:

  • How long might I live and what will my quality of life be with my illness?
  • Could I benefit from hospice care at this time?