Below is a list of questions to ask your Oncologist. Ideally you should interview 2 or 3, but you may be limited by area. Just make sure that you’re comfortable with your decision. You’ll be spending a lot of time at this office, especially if you’re receiving chemotherapy treatments. Your surroundings, attitude of the staff, cleanliness, services available, refrigerator and microwave usage, or better yet, prepared snacks for you while you’re sitting there hours on end are important factors to consider. Of course, if you have the best Oncologist available in your area, but he does not provide snacks….well…..I guess that’s acceptable. Bring your own. Maybe you can even make enough for everyone there on certain days. You never know, you may start something that brings people closer together.
How long have you been practicing medicine in this field?
Is the type of cancer that I have your specialty?
Is chemotherapy done on the premises or at some other location?
What services are available if needed, such as transfusion, white blood cell count booster infections, periodic blood tests and periodic scans to check progression or remission of disease such as CT, PET, or MRI? How often will they be scheduled?
Which pre-medications do you administer before chemotherapy to cut down on side effects and allergic reactions?
Are you available after hours for emergencies?
If chemotherapy is done on the premises, what are the qualifications of the nursing staff?
Does your staff handle the insurance paperwork and lab and scan scheduling?
Is there a Cancer Resource Center nearby?
Do they provide referrals for other specialties that may be needed?
Diagnosis – what type of cancer do I have, how large is the tumor and what stage is it? Can I have copies of all lab results?
How aggressive is the cancer?
What are the treatment options available and what is recommended by Oncologist?
Get copies of all lab reports and scans
Ask your Oncologist about anything that you do not understand in the reports and scans.
What type of side effects can be expected and what medications are available to counteract them?
What are the statistics of the recommended treatment option?
Tell your Oncologist when adding supplementation to your diet.
Communicate every new ache and pain no matter how minor you may believe it is.
Keep a journal of appointments, diagnosis, treatment plans, treatment dates, side effects, if any, drug changes, treatment changes. Keep a timeline of your journey from diagnosis to present. This will become very important to you over the years.
If you’re computer savvy, it’s important to keep on top of current treatments available, side effects that may not have been communicated to you at the office visit. Print this information out and keep in a folder to refer to when necessary.
Your doctors are very knowledgeable in their particular field of cancer, but they don’t know everything and they have a lot of patients. Take responsibility for your own health and take responsibility for the treatment that you have agreed to.
There are many support groups online and some of them are absolutely packed with information that can be trusted. I, personally, can only vouch for one website. It is exclusively for HER2Positive  breast cancer survivors from newly diagnosed to metastic. You will find the link on the page “Links to Sites You Cannot Live Without”. I will add more links to this page as I check them out myself.  Every link I provide to you will be authenticated for helpfulness and accuracy before I ever make it available on this blog.

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