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Talking with healthcare providers about cancer can be overwhelming. It can be hard to take in all of the information. It helps to be prepared. Make a list of questions and bring them to your appointments. Write the answers down in a notebook. Make sure you ask how the treatment will change your daily life, including your diet, and how you will look and feel after treatment. Ask how successful the treatment is expected to be, and what the risks and possible side effects are.
You may also want to ask a friend or family member to go with you. He or she can take notes and write down the answers, and also ask questions you may not think of. You can also ask your healthcare provider if you can record the conversation.
Below are some questions to ask during your appointments.
What is the stage of my CLL? What does this mean?
Do I need any other tests before we can decide on treatment?
Do I need to see any other types of doctors?
Do I need to start treatment right away, or is watchful waiting an option? Why or why not?
If we decide on watchful waiting, what tests will I need?
What treatment do you think is best for me? Why?
What is the goal of treatment?
What is the success rate of this treatment for my type of leukemia?
Are there any clinical trials I should try?
How soon do I need to start treatment?
How long will I need treatment?
What will treatment be like?
Do I have to go anywhere for the treatment, or can it be done at home?
Can I take my other medicines during treatment?
Should I change my diet? Are there any foods I shouldn't eat?
Will I need any tests during treatment? If so, how often?
How will I feel during treatment?
What side effects can I expect?
How long will side effects last?
Are there side effects that I need to call you about?
What can I do to ease the side effects?
Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?
How often will I need to see you during treatment?
Are there any long-term side effects I should watch for?
Are there support groups that I can join?
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