Cancer and Its Causes

The more you know about cancer, the better placed you are to cope with it

Cancer will affect most of us during our lives, either directly or indirectly. By improving our understanding of cancer, we become better placed to make lifestyle choices and take precautions which can reduce our cancer risk.

Everyone should be aware of symptoms for early detection and, for those diagnosed, understanding common treatment methods, side effects and common questions to ask your doctor can make a huge impact on how you navigate through your cancer experience. Knowledge and understanding can decrease fear and empower you to make the best possible choices for your health and well-being.

Understanding your cancer diagnosis, treatment plan, prognosis and all associated side effects and implications are important to making informed decisions about your health. The best source of information is usually your doctor and compiling a list of what you wish to know in advance is a useful way to ensure you don’t miss an opportunity to receive the answers to your questions.

We have developed the following list of questions for you to ask your doctor and we suggest you add your own too. If possible, bring a friend or family member along to see your doctor so that they can help to write down answers or suggestions from the doctor.

  1. What kind of cancer do I have?
  2. Has the cancer spread, what stage is it at?
  3. What are all the possible treatment options (including clinical trials) for my diagnosis? Are they all available at this hospital?
  4. What are the advantages, disadvantages and risks of each treatment option?
  5. What are all the potential side effects of each treatment option?
  6. How long will treatment last and what will it involve?
  7. Will I have access to palliative care or pain management services?
  8. As a medical professional, what course of action do you recommend for me?
  9. What are my chances for a successful recovery?
  10. When are you likely to know if my treatment is working successfully, and how?
  11. How much will my treatment cost? Will my insurance cover all costs?
  12. What should I do if I have financial difficulties?
  13. Are there any complementary therapies, vitamins or nutritional aids that would help my treatment?
  14. Is my family at risk of having cancer?

Your doctors should be able to answer all these questions once they have sufficient information about your diagnosis. There is no such thing as a silly question and you have a right to know all information available so that you are equipped to make the best decisions possible regarding your treatment and recovery. 

In addition to the support and guidance offered by your doctor, Hong Kong Cancer Fund offers a full range of cancer care services to help you understand your new situation and to help ease the stress of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. We offer nursing consultations and programmes tailored to your specific needs and all our services are free. If you need our support, call us now at 3686 0800.


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