"Doctor, Can We Talk?": Tips for Your Next Appointment

Share this content:
This fact sheet helps patients prepare for appointments with a list of questions they can ask to help understand treatment.
This fact sheet helps patients prepare for appointments with a list of questions they can ask to help understand treatment.

Talking to your doctor can be difficult. Regardless of your diagnosis, hearing about it may leave you feeling frightened or overwhelmed.

Good communication with your doctor will help improve the quality of the care you receive.

Here are some ways to improve communication with your health care team:

Remember that you are the consumer. As a patient, it is important to remember that you are a consumer of health care. The best way to begin making difficult decisions about health care is to educate yourself.

Bring someone with you to your appointments. It is always helpful to have support, and the person can serve as a second set of ears. He or she may also be able to think of questions to ask your doctor or remember details about your symptoms you may have forgotten.

Prepare a list of questions beforehand. This way, you won't forget to ask about something that was important to you. Make your questions specific and brief because your doctor has limited time. Once you're at your appointment, ask your most important questions first.

Write down your doctor's answers. Taking notes will help you remember your doctor's responses and instructions. It also allows you to go over the information later when you have more time to concentrate or do research.

If possible, tape-record your visit. Taping your conversation gives you a chance to hear specific information again or share it with family members or friends.

Continue Reading Below

Here are some questions to ask your doctor or nurse to help you understand your treatment and follow-up:

  • What are my treatment options?
  • What is the recommended treatment?
  • How often will I receive treatment?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • What are the possible benefits and risks of this treatment?
  • How much will my treatment cost?
  • If I have questions during my treatment and my doctor is not available, who can I ask? For example, is a nurse, social worker, or other specialist available?
  • Is there any information I can read about this treatment or procedure?
  • Is there anything else I should know?

Related Resources

You must be a registered member of Cancer Therapy Advisor to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-newsletters

Regimen and Drug Listings


Bone Cancer Regimens Drugs
Brain Cancer Regimens Drugs
Breast Cancer Regimens Drugs
Endocrine Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gastrointestinal Cancer Regimens Drugs
Gynecologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Head and Neck Cancer Regimens Drugs
Hematologic Cancer Regimens Drugs
Lung Cancer Regimens Drugs
Other Cancers Regimens
Prostate Cancer Regimens Drugs
Rare Cancers Regimens
Renal Cell Carcinoma Regimens Drugs
Skin Cancer Regimens Drugs
Urologic Cancers Regimens Drugs