Cancer Treatment and Care

Ten Questions You Should Be Asking Your Oncologist

When Diagnosed with cancer, it’s scary. The patient or family is unfamiliar with the jargon, and they have so many questions and worries racing through their mind that it is hard to focus. Because of this, knowing what to ask the doctor is essential.


Keep a notebook handy where you can document every question that comes into your mind. There will be a lot, and it will be impossible to remember all of them without recording them. Writing questions as they come helps keep your thoughts in order and allows you to be your own advocate.


1. Where did my cancer originate? Has it spread?

This will likely be the first thing your care team discusses, but it is essential that you fully understand your diagnosis.

2. Is there a genetic link to this type of Cancer? Should my family members be tested?

Many cancers are genetic, and this question can potentially save lives.

3. What treatment options are available?

Ask your care team what they recommend and why. There are maybe numerous options, and your doctor should be able to explain the pros and cons of each one.

4. What happens if the treatment approach doesn’t work?

Knowing this will help your peace of mind, but it also allows may be more risk-averse, and others may be more willing to try new therapies. Speak to your care team about how/when they consider a treatment unsuccessful and what the next steps would be.

5. How will you help me manage side effects?

Review the potential side effects and what support you can receive. Speaking about side effects early on will allow your care plan to be proactive rather than reactive

6. What will my treatment cost?

Cancer treatments can be expensive, and you will want to prepare for this. Your care team can also discuss what treatments your insurance may cover and what options it will not.

7. What Can I do to preserve my fertility?

If you want biological children in the future, this is vital to ask. Addressing it after treatment can be too late.

8. What impact will treatment have on my lifestyle?

It may be unavoidable, but preparing for any impact on your lifestyle can make the transition easier.

9. Where can I get more information or support?

Your care team deals with diagnoses day in and day out. They are a wealth on information and can point you toward resources, groups, and more.

10. Where do you recommend getting a second opinion?

No care team will be offended by a patient receiving a second opinion. If you’re not satisfied with the way your care team responds to your questions- or if you are after peace of mind- getting a second opinion can help you explore options.