If you’re digging in to fight cancer, success begins with the right cancer doctor. Not to be too crass, but this is life and death – and you need to be comfortable with the person calling the shots.
Your doctor is the tip of the spear when it comes to overseeing treatment. By taking an active role in the decision-making – conventional, integrative, or natural regimens – you can get questions answered. As a result, your support team (family and friends) will be able to find more help (financial, emotional, etc.) during the journey.
Upfront, you have to decide how much information to digest. This is step one in talking comfortably with your doctor. Some people want to know everything – the nitty-gritty of their cancer, treatments, and survival statistics – and feel more in control of their life.
Others want (or need) to be spoon-fed – small bits of information that they can process. An overload of details raises their anxiety. They are comfortable leaving most decisions to the doctor.
Whichever way you approach the diagnosis, it’s not wrong. This is a personal decision. Do not be afraid. Think through the process and then tell the doctor how much or how little you want to learn – request reading material or websites that address your cancer.
It’s human to feel anxiety when visiting the doctor. You can combat this by taking notes during the meeting. You also can record the conversation. (Smartphones are great recording devices!) If you’re overwhelmed, take a family member or a friend to the visit.
Here are several basic questions every cancer patient should ask their doctor:
- What type of cancer do I have and what is my cancer’s stage?
- Which treatment do you recommend? Are there other treatments?
- What are the benefits – and risks – of the treatments?
- How soon do I need to start treatment and how long will I need treatment?
- What medicines will I get? What are they for? Are their side-effects?
- How much will the treatments cost? Can I work during treatment?
- Will I be able to have children after treatment?
Above all, tell your doctor what you’re worried about. It’s important to ask questions about any part of the treatment that you do not understand. Chances are your doctor understands the trepidation and feeling of loneliness you’re battling. Reply on his experience!