After being diagnosed with mesothelioma or some other form of cancer, it is natural to ask questions of your doctors. And while you may feel as though your oncologist is there to help you find the best treatment options for your diagnosis, sometimes the emotional trauma of the situation and/or the busy schedule of the doctor may make it difficult to process everything that he or she is saying. Here are four ideas to consider when meeting with your oncologist. Obviously this is not a comprehensive list.
Is it ok if I tape our conversation?
Taping your conversation is a good way to provide a record so that you can focus on what the doctor was telling you. It also allows you re-play the conversation at a later time when you are, perhaps, more calm and able to focus. Additionally, it allows you the time to focus on formulating questions to ask of the doctor and spend less time worrying about having to take notes.
One thing worth noting is that if you do plan to tape record your session with your oncologist, you should always obtain the permission of the doctor(s) beforehand. In some cases, you may want to get written consent. In lieu of this, you may want to set aside a little time after you’ve started recording to have all of the parties verbally agree on tape that they are being recorded with their consent.
What are my treatment options? What if I opt not to have treatment?
Knowing what your treatment options are is extremely important as research and science is always at work to find new cures and treatments for various forms of cancer including mesothelioma. An oncologist should be able to give you comparisons between various forms of treatment that are currently available for your particular mesothelioma case. Some mesothelioma patients may be interested in what happens if they decide not to have chemotherapy or any other conventional therapy. This is a good question for your oncologist. You may ask your oncologist to point you in the direction of references or studies that discuss a patient’s quality of life and longevity after refusing cancer treatment.
What will the side effects of my cancer treatment be?
While certain types of cancer may be cured, it is important to consider the fact that some patients, in fact, die not from the cancer but from the treatment process. Make sure you ask your oncologist what the short and long side effects of your treatment will be and what can or should be done to counter any of the negative side effects.
Will my pathology be sent to another hospital for a second opinion?
Certainly before any cancer treatment begins, you should ask your doctor whether or not your pathology results have been sent to another hospital (or will be) for a second opinion. This is especially true for mesothelioma, a cancer that is typically challenging to diagnose. Doing so will help to ensure that you have been properly diagnosed. In many hospitals, it is standard practice to send the pathology results out for a second opinion. You may, therefore, want to double check to ensure that this precaution was taken and if not, why not.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article