Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Esophageal 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 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 Healthcare Provider
- Is there anything in my medical history to warrant a look at and biopsy of my esophagus?
- How do I know if my heartburn is being treated adequately to prevent it from becoming cancer?
- What treatments do you recommend?
- Please explain the risks and benefits of each treatment.
- How effective are these treatments?
- How do you expect my cancer to react?
- Can you refer me to an organized support group so I can talk to others who have had similar experiences?
- Please connect me with a pain treatment center.
- Do I need a nutritionist?
- How severe do my swallowing symptoms need be before I should seek intervention to prevent lung complications?
- How will different treatment options effect my quality of life?
- When should I consider hospice care?
- What can hospice care offer my family and me?
- When should I bring my family in for open progress reports?
When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider
- Before choosing a recommended treatment
- When you are not maintaining your weight
- When you are aspirating (inhaling) food, liquids, or saliva
- When your pain relief is insufficient
- When care in your present situation is inadequate or an excessive burden on your caretakers
American Chronic Pain Association website. Available at: http://www.theacpa.org . Accessed August 5, 2013.
Esophageal cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 2, 2013. Accessed August 5, 2013.
Esophageal cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/esophageal . Accessed August 5, 2013.
Esophagus cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003098-pdf.pdf . Accessed August 5, 2013.
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/healthcare-management/working-with-your-doctor/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.html . Updated November 2010. Accessed August 5, 2013.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/20/2015 -
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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