Talking with health care providers about cancer can be overwhelming. It can be hard to take in all of the information. It helps to be prepared. Make a list of questions and bring them to your appointments. Write the answers down in a notebook. Make sure you ask how the treatment will change your daily life, including your diet, and how you will look and feel after treatment. Ask how successful the treatment is expected to be, and what the risks and possible side effects are.
You may also want to ask a friend or family member to come with you. He or she can take notes and write down the answers, and also ask questions you may not think of. You can also ask your health care provider if you can record the conversation.
Below are some questions to ask during your appointments.
Deciding on a treatment
What kind of kidney cancer do I have?
What is the grade and stage of my cancer?
Has the cancer spread anywhere else in my body?
What are the treatment choices?
What treatment do you think is best for me?
What are the goals of the treatment you are recommending?
What is the success rate of this treatment for my type and stage of kidney cancer?
What is the life expectancy for someone with my stage of cancer receiving this treatment?
Are there any clinical trials that I can apply for?
Getting ready for treatment
What is the length of the treatment period?
How long will each treatment take?
Where do I have to go for the treatment?
Who will give me the treatment?
Does someone need to go with me during treatments?
Can I take my other medicines during treatment?
Coping during treatment
What side effects should I expect?
How long will side effects last?
Are there side effects that I need to call you about?
How do I reach you after hours and on weekends?
What can I do to ease the side effects?
Should I change my diet? What foods can't I eat?
Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?
Are there support groups nearby that I can join?
How will I feel after the treatment?
What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
How will we know if treatment worked?