Questions to Ask

An appointment with a doctor can be an overwhelming experience. There are many questions to ask and important information to remember. Preparing a list of questions for the appointment will help make the best use of time. Be sure to place questions most important at the top of the list. Some patients e-mail or fax questions to the office before their doctor’s appointment.

To help with the anxiety—and to assist in keeping track of all the important information—the patient may want to have a friend or family member present, or even record the conversation for later review. If patients choose to record the meeting, they should make sure to ask the doctor before they begin.

Questions to consider may include:

Medical Oncologist

  • What stage is my lung cancer?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Are clinical trials an option for me?
  • How do I find clinical trials?
  • What results do you expect?
  • How long is the course of treatment?
  • How often do I receive the treatment and how much time will each one take?
  • Where can I receive treatment? Will I need help to and from treatment?
  • What are the side effects of treatment?
  • Is there a way to minimize the side effects?
  • Can the treatment cause other problems such as heart, lung, kidney damage/disease, or fertility problems?

Pulmonologist

  • What screening or x-ray methods will you use?
  • Will I be exposed to harmful substances?
  • How long will it take to obtain the results?
  • Who will explain my screening results to me?
  • What is a lung biopsy?
  • How will you conduct the biopsy? Is it painful?
  • Will I need to have anesthesia for the biopsy?
  • Will a biopsy require an overnight hospital stay?
  • How do you read a biopsy?
  • Am I more susceptible to diseases such as bronchitis?
  • Why am I short of breath?
  • Are there exercises to help me regain my breathing capacity?
  • How will we know if the treatment is working?
  • Am I at risk for a relapse?
  • Will I be able to continue working/attending school?
  • Are there any alternative treatment options?

Radiation Oncologist

  • What are the treatment choices available for my type of lung cancer?
  • Which treatments do you recommend?
  • Where can I receive treatment? Will I need help to and from treatment?
  • How long will each treatment last, and how will I receive it?
  • What results do you expect?
  • What are the side effects and how can they be minimized?
  • How long will I need radiation?
  • How will we know if the radiation is working?
  • Can the treatment cause other problems such as heart, lung, kidney damage/disease, or fertility problems?
  • Will I have to receive other treatments at the same time and how will that effect the radiation?
  • Are there any long-term effects or dangers?
  • Will I be able to continue working/attending school during treatment?

Thoracic Surgeon

  • Will you explain the surgery in simple terms?
  • What should I do to prepare?
  • How long will the surgery take? Will I need help getting home after surgery?
  • How long will I have to remain in the hospital?
  • How much of my lungs do you anticipate will need to be removed?
  • What are the risks and benefits of this surgery?
  • Will I have drains, catheters, or intravenous lines?
  • Is there a possibility that I will need a blood transfusion, and if so, can I bank my own blood before surgery?
  • Are there any treatments I can have before surgery to shrink the tumor?
  • How long will it take for me to recuperate?
  • How long will it be until I can resume normal activities?
  • Will I need other types of treatment after surgery?
  • How long will it be until I can safely receive other necessary treatments?
  • Are there alternatives to this treatment?
  • Will I need assistance when I get home?