Asking Questions: Who, When, How

Make a list of questions (perhaps in a notebook to keep them together) before seeing the doctor. Leave room under each one to jot down notes during the visit (or ask your partner or a friend to take notes). Don’t worry if at first you’re uncomfortable asking questions and taking notes during doctor’s visits. If you were looking to buy a house or car, you’d jot down notes naturally. So learn to be just as comfortable in the teamwork with your doctor.

Your doctors’ responses to your questions will be based largely on their training, experience, and judgments regarding your particular situation. Doctors also may be making a judgment as to how much they feel you want to know, how they feel you can deal with it, and their impressions of your ability to understand what is said.

We don’t suggest you ask every question contained in this booklet! Instead, think of these lists as a “menu” from which you make selections at times that are right for you. In addition to asking your doctor, other good sources of information for some questions may be your oncology nurse, hospital social worker, case manager, patient advocate, or pharmacist.

Who: Office Staff, Doctor, Nurse, Social Worker
When: Timing Can Be Important
How: Wording Questions