WHAT SHOULD I ASK?
You will have a lot to think about during your first appointment. Here are some questions that you may want to ask your health care team during this visit.
Learning about Your Cancer
• What stage is my cancer? What does that mean? • Has my cancer spread from its original location? If so, where?
• What are the survival statistics for my cancer stage?
Deciding on Your Treatment Plan • What type of treatment do you recommend? Why? • What risks and side effects are likely with this treatment?
• Will I need more than one type of treatment? • Are there other treatment options? How are they different?
• How will this treatment plan change my survival statistics?
• What will happen if I decide to wait until later for treatment?
• What will happen if I decide not to have treatment?
Understanding Your Treatment Plan • How soon do I need to start treatment? • Will I need to stay in the hospital? If so, for how long? • How often do treatments occur? How long do they last?
• How should I expect to feel during and after treatment? • Are there clinical trials in which I can take part? If so, how do I enroll?
Learning about Side Effects
• How should I expect to feel during and after treatment? • What side effects can I expect? • What side effects should I tell my cancer care team about immediately?
• If I am in pain and it is after hours, whom should I call for help?
Finding Out about Lifestyle Changes
• Will I be able to work while under treatment? • Will I need to limit my daily or recreational activities because of treatment?
• Is there any special diet I should follow before, during, and after treatment?
• Who can I talk to about my emotional concerns? • Are there others who have been through this process I can talk to?
TEAMWORK FOR SAFE CARE
You CAN help your health care team. Remember the words:
CHECK ASK NOTIFY Here are important tips to remember at every visit.
Check to make sure things look right. For example, is your chemotherapy the same color it was last time? Are your pills the same shape? If you notice anything out of the ordinary, we want to know about it.
Check to make sure you’ve understood your caregivers by repeating information they have given you.
Everyone on your team, including you, should understand instructions and explanations. Team members should remind one another about important safety issues.
Ask what side effects to expect from your medications and what to do if you have those side effects.
Ask your health care providers if they washed their hands. Huntsman Cancer Hospital has some of the best hand-washing rates in the country, but some staff members may forget once in a while.
Ask your doctor or nurse to repeat anything you didn’t hear or understand.
Ask any other questions you have about your treatment or care.
Team members speak up when they see danger or think someone’s mistake might cause an accident. Tey also share information that will help the team perform better. As a member of your team, you CAN do the following:
Notify your caregivers about any problems you’ve had between visits.
Notify your nurse if your doctor made any last-minute changes to your treatment. Even though your caregivers work as a team, you can help make sure everyone has the same information.
Notify your caregivers about any side effects you have experienced since your last visit, or anything else that might affect your treatment.
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