Living with cancer

Questions to ask about treatment for cancer

Below are some examples of questions that you may like to ask your doctor or consultant about treatments available including:

  • general questions for all types of treatment
  • questions about surgery
  • questions about chemotherapy
  • questions about radiotherapy.

General questions for all types of treatment

  • What is the aim of the treatment and how long will it take?
  • Why is this the best treatment for me?
  • Is there any other treatment available to me?
  • How successful is this treatment likely to be?
  • Do you have any written information about the treatment?
  • Does the treatment have any side effects - short, medium and long term?
  • How will this treatment affect other medical problems that I have or the medications I am taking?
  • Where will I be treated?
  • Will I stay in hospital and if so for how long?
  • What care will I need afterwards?
  • What activities will I need to avoid and for how long?
  • What should I do to look after myself during treatment?
  • What is likely to happen if I choose not to have treatment?
  • Are there any current clinical trials that are relevant to my type of cancer?

Other questions about surgery

  • What surgery is planned?
  • What will happen during the surgery?
  • Which doctors will do the operation?
  • Will I have a general or local anaesthetic?
  • How do the possible benefits and risks of surgery compare with other treatments?

Other questions about chemotherapy

  • What are the names of the chemotherapy drugs?
  • How long will the whole course of chemotherapy treatment take?How many sessions will I have and how long will each session last?
  • What side effects should I report to you during and after the treatment?
  • Should I have someone with me when I come for treatment?

Questions about radiotherapy

  • What kind of radiotherapy is planned for me?
  • How long will the whole course of radiotherapy treatment last?
  • How long will each session of treatment last?
  • What side effects should I report to you during or after treatment?
  • Should I have someone with me when I come for treatment?

If you have been affected by cancer in some way and would like to talk to someone about what you have read or need help finding information - you are welcome to drop into any Maggie’s Centre or to visit Maggie’s Online Centre and talk with a cancer support specialist.