Re: The Need To Know - A Husband's Perspective
What questions to ask your medical oncologist.
1. Ask him/her if the chemotherapy can cause additional cancers to develop in your body? What side effect can occur? Ask him/her for a complete list of side effects and the documentation supplied by the manufacturer of the chemo drugs he/she intends to use on you. He/she must supply this to you because it contains all of the side effects of the chemotherapy he/she intends to pump into you. Your life depends on this information. This is called INFORMED CONSENT. You must be made aware of all possible problems including the real possibility of developing other fatal cancers or death, as a direct result of chemotherapy.
2. Will he/she try to use the word "cure" or "possible cure" as much as possible? Ask for the cure success rates and ask to speak to some of the patients on chemotherapy.
3. Ask him/her if there is any other way to treat your cancer and are there any other options?
4. Always get a second opinion...Always! Get a second opinion from another doctor who works out of a different hospital and never give the second doctor the results of the first doctors exam. One doctor will rarely contradict the findings of another, especially in the same hospital. Let the doctor come up with his/her own independent opinion.
Survival rates immediately following complicated cancer surgery or chemotherapy are two to three times higher at facilities that perform a high volume of these procedures. Cancer patients needing such treatments therefore should be served in more-experienced settings, says the National Cancer Policy Board of the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council in its report Ensuring Quality Cancer Care.