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Talking with health care 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 health care provider if you can record the conversation.
Below are some questions to ask during your appointments.
What kind of vaginal cancer do I have?
What is the grade and stage of my cancer? What does this mean?
Has the cancer spread anywhere else in my body?
How much experience do you have treating vaginal cancer?
What are the treatment choices?
Are there other tests that need to be done before we can decide on treatment?
Which treatment do you think is best for me? Why?
What is the risk for return of the cancer with each treatment?
How will treatment affect my sex life or my ability to have children?
Will I need reconstructive surgery after treatment?
Should I get a second opinion?
Are there any clinical trials that I can apply for?
Over what period of time will I get this treatment?
What should I do to get ready for the treatment?
Who will give me the treatment?
How long will each treatment take?
Does someone need to go with me during treatments?
What side effects might I have during and after treatment?
What can I do to ease the side effects?
How long will side effects last?
Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?
Are there support groups nearby that I can join?
How will I feel after treatment?
When can I go back to work or my usual activities?
When can I have sex?
Will I have a scar?
What things can I do now to decrease my risk of recurrence?
What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
How will we know if treatment worked?
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