Talking to Your Doctor About Lung Cancer
General Tips for Gathering Information
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What is the stage of my lung cancer?
- Was it caught early or has it spread?
- Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for lung cancer?
- What is the possibility that my cancer is related to environmental toxins that might cause lung cancer in other family members?
What are my treatment options?
- Am I a candidate for genotyping and targeted therapy?
- What are the risks and benefits associated with my treatment options?
- What other treatments are available?
- How long will the treatments last?
- What side effects can I expect?
- Will I need to change my daily routine?
- How will I feel during treatment?
- What will I need to do to take care of myself during the treatment period?
- What will we do if the treatment does not succeed?
- How can I find help to quit smoking?
- Are there other lifestyle changes I can make to help my prognosis?
- How likely is it that my treatments will kill all the cancer cells?
- How do I know that my treatment program is effective?
- Should I consider participating in a clinical trial?
- Do you know of any support groups or other patients I can talk with?
General information about non-small cell lung cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/non-small-cell-lung/Patient/page1. Accessed September 28, 2012.
Genotyping and smart drugs: FAQs. Massachusetts General Hospital, Cancer Center website. Available at: http://www.massgeneral.org/cancer/news/faq.aspx. Accessed September 28, 2012.
How is non-small cell lung cancer treated? American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/LungCancer-Non-SmallCell/OverviewGuide/lung-cancer-non-small-cell-overview-treating-general-info. Updated February 23, 2012. Accessed September 28, 2012.
- Reviewer: Igor Puzanov, MD
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/17/2014 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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