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This section aims to help you get the most from your cancer treatment. It suggests questions you may want to ask your doctors and nurses at different times after your cancer diagnosis.
You are likely to have a lot of questions about your treatment, but perhaps you aren’t sure where to start when it comes to asking them.
You don’t have to ask all of your questions at once. There will be other opportunities to speak to your medical team if you have further questions or if you need to ask the same question again.
You can always make another appointment or speak to them by telephone if you want to discuss things further. Some doctors and nurses can be contacted by email, so you may find it easier to email your questions to them.
To help you remember what you are told, you may want to take notes or have a relative or friend with you when you’re talking to your doctor or nurse.
Here are some questions you can ask before you make any decisions about your cancer treatment.
Questions like these may be on your mind immediately after your diagnosis:
Questions about practical issues can feel awkward or embarrassing to ask, but the healthcare and social care professionals you speak to will understand. Questions include:
Learning what terms like these mean can help you understand your diagnosis:
Knowing where to get more information about your cancer and how it’s treated can help you feel more in control.
You can see national guidelines for your cancer, its treatment and care by visiting the website of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence| and the Department of Health|. In Scotland you can visit the website of the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network|. We have some information to help you to understand the terms and statistics| that might be used when discussing cancer.
This section contains questions you can ask to help you choose the cancer treatment that's best for you.
It’s important to tell your medical team about any other medicines, remedies or supplements you’re taking before you start any cancer treatment.
Finding out what your options are can help you make the right decision about your treatment. Your doctor, nurse or pharmacist will be able to guide you, but you may want to ask:
You may find our section on making treatment decisions| helpful.
Once you’ve decided on a particular treatment, questions like these can help you understand what will happen next:
You may want to ask about participating in clinical trials|.
Asking practical questions like these may help you organise your life and make things as easy as possible before you start your treatment:
Your specialist nurse can help you find financial support or help at home.
This section suggests questions you can ask when your treatment starts.
If you'd like to know how your treatment works and how to take it safely, you can ask:
Questions like these can help you clear up any uncertainties about treatment:
Knowing what to expect from your treatment can also help you cope, so you might like to ask:
Questions like these can help you find out who can help if you have any problems during your treatment:
This section is based on our Ask about your cancer treatment leaflet and has been compiled using information from a number of reliable sources, including:
Content last reviewed: 1 November 2011
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
If you are diagnosed with colon or rectal cancer, we have an online tool to help you find the best treatment and care. Find out more|.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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