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You may find it helpful to make a list of your questions before seeing your doctor. Use the list of questions below as a starting place for the questions you might ask. To make it easier to remember what your doctor says, take notes during meetings or ask if you can record the conversations. It may also help to have a family member or friend with you to take part in the discussion, take notes, or just listen:
Which treatments do you think are best for me and why?
Which treatments do you think are not for me and why?
What is the success rate of this particular treatment for my type and stage of stomach cancer?
What are the goals of treatment? Are we trying to get rid of the cancer for good (curative treatment)? Or, are we trying to slow the cancer down or prevent it from causing symptoms (palliative treatment)?
Can I take my other medicines during the treatment period?
What is the length of the treatment period?
How long will each treatment take?
Where do I have to go for the treatment?
Who is involved in giving me the treatment?
Does someone need to go with me during treatments?
How will I feel after the treatment?
What side effects can I expect to have?
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?
Should I change my diet? Which foods can I not eat? Will I have to change how I eat?
Are there any clinical trials I should look into?
Are there support groups nearby that I can join?
Now is the time to be very honest with yourself about the side effects you can and cannot tolerate. Your first impulse may be to choose the treatment that destroys your cancer at any cost. However, once your cancer is gone, the side effects of the treatment may become more bothersome than you thought. It is your doctor’s duty to tell you what those side effects may be before the treatment, but it’s up to you to think about them seriously before making a decision.
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