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Woman in Pain
Doctor Holding Patient's Hand


Every cancer diagnosis is unique.  

Cancer varies from person to person because it is measured by several different factors.  It's important to ask your doctors  for as much information as possible about your individual cancer in order to ensure you are receiving optimal care.

Unless you require urgent treatment take the time to become as educated as possible before agreeing to recommended treatment(s). 

Some of the most important questions to ask are the following:

1.   What is the clinical stage and pathological grade of my cancer?

2.  Which treatment(s) will give me the best quality of life and greatest  life expectancy?

3.  What other tests can I have to see if the cancer has spread?

4.  How long will it take to get the results of these tests?

5.  Can I get a copy of the test results?

6.  Can you explain the results of my complete blood count (CBC)?

7.  Are there hormone receptor tests available for my type of cancer?**

8.  What is the outlook or prognosis for my cancer?

9.  Would I be better off being treated in a more specialized center?

10.  How much time should I take to make a decision about treatment?

11.   What would my life expectancy be if I didn't have any treatment?

12.  Are there any clinical trials I would qualify for?

**For example, breast cancer should always be tested for HER2 and hormone

receptor status

If you've received a cancer diagnosis, you may be referred to a number of different specialists, such as a Surgeon, Medical Oncologist, Radiation Oncologist, Immunologist, or Hematologist.​  The information you will receive will be vast and sometimes difficult to comprehend, but there are a number of things you can do to help:

  • Find a partner - whether it be family member, friend, or neighbor, it helps to have someone to go to your appointments with you to help retain the information provided

  • Get as much information as possible from your doctor about your unique diagnosis - Everyone’s cancer is unique in terms of their clinical stage and pathological grade

  • Ask questions - Go into every appointment prepared with the most helpful questions. Be sure to bring a pen and notepad to write everything down or record the conversation your phone

  • Educate yourself - stick with government or hospital websites when doing research online. Otherwise information on the internet may be inaccurate or misleading

  • If you feel like there's a possibility you've been misdiagnosed, you can and should ask for a second opinion.

Cancer Diagnosis
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