what to ask your doctor
Your journey with ovarian cancer is one that will be filled with questions, concerns, highpoints and yes—pitfalls. Try to remember that your concerns are valid and you should feel confident about bringing any question you have, no matter how trivial it may seem at first, to the attention of your healthcare team. You should also feel completely justified in changing doctors if you feel that you are not getting the answers you seek.
It may be helpful to keep a tabbed binder in which to organize your healthcare information and paperwork, along with an appointment calendar and a notepad. Write down any questions that come to mind so that you'll have them ready the next time you're in contact with your healthcare team.
Below is a printable list of questions you can bring with you to your next appointment. Be sure to add any questions you come up with between now and then so that you'll have them ready.
- What type of ovarian cancer do I have?
- Has my cancer spread beyond the ovaries? At what stage does that put me?
- What cell type do I have?
- What is the microscopic grade of my cancer and what will that mean in my case?
- What treatment options or medications do you recommend for me?
- Will I need surgery and, if so, how extensive should it be?
- What risks or side effects should I expect from different treatment options?
- How can I reduce the side effects?
- Given the treatment options we discussed, how likely is it that my cancer will return?
- For how long do you expect I'll need chemotherapy?
- How will we know whether or not the cancer has returned?
- How should I prepare for treatment?
- Should I or anyone else in my family be tested for the genetic mutations commonly associated with ovarian cancer?
- What nutritional guidelines should I follow?
- Will I be able to have children after my treatment?
- What is my expected prognosis?
- How long might it take for me to recover?
- How will my treatments affect my work?
- Will I need a wig?
- What do I tell my children, husband, parents and other family members?
- Are there any clinical trials or experimental therapies I might qualify for?
- How often should I follow up with you or your staff?