Learning you have cancer is often frightening and overwhelming.
Talking and listening to your doctor, nurse, and other members of your health care team- even family- becomes difficult. Studies show that clear communication between you and yoru health care team can help you feel better about your choices, and may even improve your quality of care.
Questions to ask aobut your diagnosis:
* What type of lung cancer do I have?
* What stage is my lung cancer, and has it spread to other parts of my body?
* What symptoms of lung cancer might I experience?
* Where can I find more information about lung cancer?
* Are there support groups or organizations available for my family and me?
Questions to ask about your treatment:
* What are my goals for treatment? (is it to cure the cancer, control the cancer, or relieve symptoms?)
* What treatment options are available for me?
* Which treatment do you recommend, and why?
* Should I/where do I get a second opinion?
* Are there treatment options I should consider if chemotherapy isn't appropriate or has stopped working?
* What are the risks and benefits of each treatment option?
* What side effects might I experience and how can they be managed or prevented?
* Where will I go to receive my treatments?
* When can I start my treatment and how long will it last?
* Which treatments are not covered by my insurance?
* If insurance doesn't cover this treatment, what options exist to help with finances?
* Are there any clinical trials that might be appropriate for me? Where can I go to get more information about clinical trials?
Questions to ask your new doctor:
* How much experience do you have in treating my specific type of lung cancer?
* Are you board certified as an oncologist, thoracic surgeon or other?
* How to you stay up to date on the latest lung cancer treatments?
* Are you associated with a major medical center, medical school, or comprehensive cancer center?
* Do you and the hospital accept my insurance?
* Will I be able to receive all treatments at this facility?
* Are cancer clinical trials offered at this facility?
* Is there an oncology nurse or social worker who would be available during my treatment for education and support?
* What other supportive services (support groups, housing, transportation, etc.) are available at this facility for patients and families?
There are several things you can do to make communicating easier:
* Make sure you understand what is being discussed. If you do not understand, ask for more detail or a non-technical explaination. If something seems confusing, try repeating it back to the doctor, for example, "you mean I should..."
* For important appointments being a friend or a family member to help take notes, ask questions, and provide support. You can also ask if you may tape the conversation.
* Ask to see x-rays or scans or have the doctor draw a diagram if you think pictures will help you understand something better.
* Write down questions you may have as they come up, every day.