Being kept in the dark can make you freak out. You have a right to know what is happening to your body.
- Having the correct information is an important way to help you cope with what's going on. It can also give you a sense of control when everything else seems out of control.
- Some people like to know every little detail, while others just want the key facts.
- Whatever you choose is okay. How much and what you want to know may change over time.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What kind of cancer do I have? (in plain English please!)
- What part of my body does it affect?
- How do you know I have cancer?
- What tests are you going to do?
- Is this cancer going to be painful?
- What kind of treatment will I have? Where can I find extra info about it?
- Will the treatment be painful?
- Does the treatment have side effects?
- How long does the treatment take?
- Will I have to go to hospital? And if I do, for how long?
- Will it change the way I look, feel or act?
- What happens if I don’t have the treatment?
- What about school, work and the rest of my life?
- How will we know if the treatment is working?
- What will happen if the treatment doesn’t work?
- Is there anything special I should be doing, eating, reading etc.?
- Have you ever treated someone with my cancer before?
- How many have you treated?
- What age were they?
- When you talk to my parents, will you include me in the conversation? Will I be able to talk to you with my parents out of the room?
- Will you always tell me the truth about what is going on?
- No offence – but can I get another opinion if I feel unsure?
- Is there any new research or clinical trials for my type of cancer?
Being stressed, upset or scared makes it hard to remember a lot of the stuff that you get told.
These tips may help:
- Write your questions down.
- Write the answers down.
- Ask people to repeat things if you don’t get it the first time (or the second or tenth time).
- Pictures and diagrams can help – don’t be scared to ask people to use these.
you may need to remind people to talk in plain English, not medical language.