Being handed a diagnosis of lung cancer can be a stressful event for the patient and the family. With questions and concerns regarding the severity of cancer, possible causes, treatment options and prognosis running through one’s mind, there’s plenty a patient dealing with the disease has to talk about with the doctor. For no matter how minor or irrelevant some questions may seem to the patient, having a frank discussion with the healthcare team is the best way to learn about effective control methods.
We break down the list of questions into different segments based on the stage of the cancer – diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Questions to be Asked at Time of Diagnosis or Starting Treatment
- What type of lung cancer is it?
- What exactly my stage of cancer mean?
- What are the tests absolutely required for me?
- How much will be the cost of diagnosis?
- What are the different treatment options available for me?
- Which treatment do you think will work best in my case and WHY?
- What roles do the different specialists treating my case play – Pulmonologist, Surgical Oncologist, Medical Oncologist and Radiation Oncologist?
- What effect will the treatment have on my routine life? Can I continue with my usual routine – exercise, work, etc.?
- Will I be able to have children after the treatment is over?
- What is the estimated cost of the overall treatment?
- I have been a smoker for many years. Will quitting smoking affect my treatment outcome?
- How can I find help to quit smoking?
Questions to be Asked Before Having a Surgery
- I understand there are different types of surgeries to treat cancer in the lungs. Which type of surgery will be best for me and WHY?
- How much time will my surgery take?
- For how long will I be required to stay in the hospital once it is done?
- What kind of recovery can I expect?
- Is there any chance of the cancer coming back after the surgery?
Questions to be Asked Regarding Chemotherapy
- What are the drugs I will be given and how do they act on the cancer?
- What side effects should I expect from these medicines?
- What can I do to lessen the side effects from the drugs?
- I am told that I need to visit the hospital to receive medication – How frequently and how long will each visit be?
- Will I need someone’s assistance to go back home after the treatment?
Questions Regarding Radiation Therapy:
- What is the outline of treatment you have planned for me?
- How often will I need radiation? How long will each session be?
- Will radiation affect my normal lung tissue?
- Since I will receive chemotherapy at the same time, will the side effects be more?
- Will I be able to go home on my own after radiation session, or will I need assistance?
Questions to be Asked Upon Completion of Treatment or During Recovery:
- What are the chances that the cancer may strike back?
- Are there certain precautions that will help me stay cancer-free?
- How often do I need to visit for follow-ups? What kind of follow-up tests will be done?
Asking the doctor questions and having open discussions with the cancer care team play an important role in staying informed regarding the different aspects of the lung cancer treatment, every step of the way. Visit our online clinic & ask us anything!
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“Lung cancer: Preparing for your appointment,” MayoClinic.org, Mayo Clinic Staff, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lung-cancer/basics/preparing-for-your-appointment/con-20025531
“Lung Cancer: Questions to Ask the Doctor,” Cancer.net, American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), http://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/lung-cancer/questions-ask-doctor
“Questions to Ask About Your Lung Cancer,” WebMD.com, http://www.webmd.com/lung-cancer/lung-cancer-questions
“Questions to Ask My Doctor About Lung Cancer,” Cancer.org, American Cancer Society, http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003286-pdf.pdf