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Questions for Your Doctor

What kind of questions could I be asking my doctor?

Cancer centres and other healthcare facilities are very busy places. There may be several healthcare providers caring for you at once. You may need a lot of tests and procedures and you might feel that the amount of information is overwhelming and not clear to you. Therefore, it is important that you remain an active member of your healthcare team and ask questions to understand the information. 

Don’t be afraid, embarrassed, or hesitant to ask for exactly what you need from your team. It is important to be involved in and be vocal in the decisions that affect you. 

Also, sometimes taking notes can be helpful so you can refer back to them and share outcomes of meetings with family and friends.

Here are some of the questions patients commonly ask about cancer:

Types of cancer

  • What type of cancer do I have?
  • What stage is the cancer? What does that mean? (See Glossary of Terms)
  • What is the grade of the cancer? What does that mean?


  • What can be done to treat this cancer?
  • What is chemotherapy?
  • What is radiation therapy?

Managing side effects

  • What are the short-term and long-term side effects of these treatments? How long will they last?

Complementary & alternative therapies

  • What is a complementary therapy?
  • What is an alternative therapy?


  • Will I have to purchase any drugs outside of the cancer centre?
  • Will these drugs be covered by my Fair Pharmacare?

Coping with cancer

  • What kinds of feelings (such as sadness, anger, vulnerability, loss of control) am I likely to have after the surgery or other treatments?
  • Where can I find help for me and my family and friends to cope with our feelings?
  • When will I get back to my normal energy level?
  • Will I be able to work while on treatment?
  • Are there any symptoms that I should report right away? What constitutes an emergency? Who do I call? When should I go to the emergency room?


  • Are there any changes I can make to my lifestyle to improve my health?
SOURCE: Questions for Your Doctor ( )
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