Questions To Ask Your Healthcare Team

It is common for people newly diagnosed with lymphoma to feel confused and to have difficulty finding answers to help them feel more in control of their situation. The questions below may be helpful in initiating a discussion with your doctor and other members of your healthcare team so that you can understand your cancer.

General Questions

  • What type of lymphoma do I have? (There are over 50 kinds of lymphoma so be sure you know exactly what type you have. For example, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma.)
  • What is the stage or extent of my cancer?
  • What is my prognosis, as you view it?
  • What tests will I need to take?
  • How will this cancer affect my life? My work? My family?
  • What changes should I expect to happen (to my appetite, appearance, energy levels, etc.)?
  • What adjustments should I make to my everyday life?
  • How much experience do you have in treating my type of lymphoma?

Treatment Options

  • What are my treatment choices?
  • What treatment do you recommend and why?
  • What are the pros and cons of my treatment?
  • How does the treatment work?
  • What are the names of the drugs I will be given? What are they for and what will each one do?
  • What other drugs or treatments may I have to take?
  • What outcome do you hope for through treatment? Do you hope to cure or control the cancer?
  • What other treatments may I have after my initial treatment?
  • Are there other treatments for me to consider?
  • How will you know that my treatment is working?
  • Is there any recent research or are there any clinical trials that I should know about?
  • What can I do to prepare for treatment?
  • How will treatment affect my life? My work? My family?
  • How is my type of lymphoma normally treated?
  • How long will my treatment last?
  • What are the chances that the treatment will be successful?
  • Would it be appropriate for me to participate in a clinical trial for a new therapy?

Side Effects of Treatment

  • What are the possible risks or side effects of treatment?
  • How serious are the side effects?
  • Can the side effects be managed with treatment?
  • What symptoms or problems should I report right away?
  • If I get radiation therapy, what are the long-term side effects to that area of my body?
  • If I do not feel sick, does that mean the treatment is not working?
  • Will my ability to conduct my daily activities be affected? If so, for how long?
  • How long will the effects of treatment last?

Practicalities of Treatment

  • How often will I need to come in for treatment or tests?
  • What if I miss a treatment?
  • What is my treatment schedule?
  • If I get radiation therapy, how will it be given to me? Is it painful?
  • How long will my treatments last?
  • Why do I need blood tests and how often will they be required?
  • Are there any special foods I should or should not eat?
  • Can I drink alcoholic beverages?
  • Should I still take the other drugs I am on?
  • Is it okay to continue with the supplements I am currently taking?
  • What costs will I encounter?
  • What should I do if I can’t afford it?
  • Who should I call if I have questions? What is the best time to call?
  • What should I do to try to stay healthy and strong during my treatment?
  • Can I come for my chemotherapy treatments alone or do I need assistance?

Support

  • Who will manage my treatment program?
  • What resources are available to me through the treatment centre? Are there support groups or networks?
  • What is the best time to call you if I have a question?
  • Where can I go for more information?
  • Are there any patient groups in the community?

The Future

  • What are the chances that my cancer may return after remission? What are the signs?
  • What life changes should I plan for in regards to my work, family, etc?
  • Will I still be able to have children after treatment?