Before deciding on a treatment plan, it's important to understand the expected benefits, side effects and risks of each option. Patients should take written questions to each appointment. Start with the following:
Would special tumor tests, imaging or a second opinion be helpful in establishing the diagnosis and making treatment decisions?
What is the goal of treatment? Is it curative, or will it extend life or help with symptoms?
What are the chances that the treatment will work?
How will it be determined that the treatment is working?
If the treatment does not work, are there other options?
What are the potential risks and side effects of the treatment? How do side effects of this treatment compare with side effects of other treatments?
How will the treatment be given, how often and for how long?
Are there ways to prepare for treatment and decrease the chance of side effects?
Will daily activities be restricted in any way? Diet? Work? Exercise? Sexual activities?
Are there any clinical trials to consider?
How much will treatment cost? Will it be covered by insurance?
After treatment, what are the chan-ces of being cured, in remission or relieved of symptoms?
Adapted with permission of the American Cancer Society