Talking to Your Doctor About Chemotherapy

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Talking to your doctor about chemotherapy and all the different regimens and medicines might seem overwhelming at first. Ask your doctor for written chemotherapy information that you can take home with you. Doctors often have special kits or booklets with information about chemotherapy and how it's given.

Don't be afraid to ask questions. Ask for a phone number so you can call someone if you think of questions after your appointment. A doctor or oncology nurse should be available to answer questions in between appointments. If you have a question, don't hesitate to call.

To help you figure out the benefits and risks of chemotherapy, you might want to ask your doctor these questions:

  • Why are you recommending chemotherapy?
  • What are the chances that I'll get more benefits from chemotherapy compared to the treatments I'm already getting?
  • Is chemotherapy likely to make me live longer?
  • Will chemotherapy reduce the risk of the cancer coming back (recurrence)? By how much?

    (To learn more, visit the Understanding the Risk of Recurrence page.)
  • Which chemotherapy medicine or combination of medicines is best for me?
  • What are the pros and cons of the regimen you're recommending for me?
  • How will we know if the chemotherapy is working?
  • If this chemotherapy regimen doesn't work, are there others we can try?
  • What are my other treatment options?
  • Are there clinical trials on chemotherapy that you think would be beneficial for me?

While there may not be perfect answers for every question, your doctor should be able to discuss the risks and benefits of a chemotherapy regimen with you and help you make the best decision for you and your unique situation.

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