Make a list of questions to ask before going to the doctor for a diagnosis report or treatment suggestion. You may ask a relative or friend to go with you to help you take notes; they can also remind you of the questions you need to ask, or even help you ask the questions. Some patients may wish to record or video tape the consultation session. But before any recording is done, you must obtain the consent of the doctor, who can reject the request. In a public hospital, you will need to get the consent of the Hospital Authority. The following are common questions to ask.


  1. What type of cancer do I have? Which stage is it? Is it likely to have spread to other parts of my body?
  2. Why is the treatment you are recommending the best? Are there alternatives?
  3. Can the tumour be removed surgically? If so, will it leave a scar? If the tumour cannot be removed, what are other alternative treatments?
  4. I have heard that cancer treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy. Would it be best for one method to be used in my case or multiple treatments?
  5. How long will the treatment take? Will I need to stay in hospital? How will the treatment affect my life? Will I need to quit my job?
  6. How much will the treatment cost? Is there a way to save on some costs?
  7. Are the side effects serious? Are there ways to relieve them? Are the side effects permanent?
  8. Will the treatment cause infertility? Before starting treatment, do I need to freeze my eggs?
  9. Can I have sex during treatment? Will it affect my sexual ability for a long time?
  10. I want to think it through first. If I can’t make a treatment decision now, will it be too late to consider later?
  11. Before deciding on the treatment, I would like to consult one more specialist. Can you refer me to another specialist?
  12. During treatment, will it be okay for me to consult a Chinese herbal practitioner for advice? Would the two different types of treatments have a negative interaction?
  13. How will we know if the treatment has been successful?
  14. After the treatment, how often will I have to visit the doctor? What regular check-ups will I need?
  15. After treatment, will my body be so weak that I won’t be able to work? Will I still be able to take care of my children?
  16. How likely is a relapse? What are the symptoms of recurrence?
  17. Can this type of cancer be inherited? If so, what are the chances of my children getting this cancer?

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