Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Ask Your Doctor

Being diagnosed with mesothelioma 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 how far it has progressed, available treatment options and overall 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. To assist you in planning for this important communication with your doctors we have provided a framework below to help you get the information that you will find most helpful at the start of care. Remember - every question is important! Here are some questions that you might want to ask your doctor:

* What type of mesothelioma have I been diagnosed with?
* Is the cancer localized or has it spread to other organs in the body
* Have you identified what 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 treatment options? If so, how severe are they?
* Given your findings to date what do you believe my prognosis to be?
* 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.


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