A mesothelioma diagnosis is a life-changing event. Patients are suddenly faced with trying to understand a disease that they may have never heard of before, as well as determine how far this disease has progressed, assess available treatment options, and get a handle on the overall mesothelioma prognosis.
As you move through the process of diagnosis and treatment, it is important to ensure that you maintain clear communication channels with your health care team. In an effort to assist you in planning for this important communication with your mesothelioma doctors, we have provided a framework below to help you get the information that you will find most helpful at the start of your care. Remember this—every question is important! Here are some questions that you might want to ask your doctor:
- What type of mesothelioma cancer have I been diagnosed with?
- Is the cancer localized or has it spread to other organs in the body
- Have you identified the mesothelioma stage my cancer has progressed to? What does that mean for me?
- Is there a treatment protocol that you can recommend?
- How effective do you believe the treatment will be?
- Are there any risks or side effects associated with these mesothelioma treatment options? If so, how severe are they?
- Given your findings to date what do you believe my prognosis to be?
- Is there a cure for mesothelioma?
- If you believe my cancer is curable, is there a chance that it will come back?
- What kind of recovery times can I expect?
- Are there any clinical trials available for me to participate in given my diagnosis?
- How can I go about seeking a second opinion?
- How can I begin preparing now for any recommended treatment options?
Asking these questions will provide you with a good start to developing open communications with your provider. It is entirely probable, however, that you will have additional questions of your own. Please think about these in advance and write them down before you get to the doctors office. We hope that you find this framework useful in establishing a good rapport with your cancer care team.
National Cancer Institute - Mesothelioma: Questions and Answers
http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/mesothelioma (June 30, 2011)