Tips For Talking With Your Oncologist

A patient, her partner, and her doctor talking

Cancer is scary, and going to doctors about cancer is stressful.  All of that emotion makes it much harder to remember what is said at these important meetings. Of course, it is very important to understand what the doctor says, and there are some things you can do to make it easier.  Here are a few:

  • If at all possible, have someone come with you to your appointments. It is really helpful to have another set of ears/eyes in the room with you. This person can be responsible for taking notes, so the patient can pay full attention to the doctor
  • Write down your questions and bring them with you on a notepad (along with a pen).  It is really easy to forget what you wanted to ask. This will help you remember the questions and the answers.
  • Record the meeting.  Almost all cell phones have built-in recording programs, and separate recorders are very inexpensive.  Ask the clinician for permission and record the exchange. This is the surest way to make sure nothing is missed. It allows you to review what was said, and to share the information with others.
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