- Write down your questions and bring them with you to your appointment. A list may help you focus and reduce the stress of forgetting something during your visit.
- Bring a notebook to your appointment. Write down the answers to your questions and make notes about anything you don’t understand.
- Bring a family member or friend with you to your appointment to take notes for you and be your second set of ears.
- Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor to repeat or explain anything you don’t understand. Ask the doctor to slow down or use plain language or provide examples or draw a diagram – whatever it takes to help you understand.
- Ask where you can find additional information about your condition. Many doctors have brochures and booklets readily available.
- Share information with your doctor that you find on the internet or in books or magazines, but always check the sources of the information to ensure its credibility.
- Let your doctor know if you are interested in seeking a second opinion. Most doctors respect the value of second opinions. Your current doctor may even be able to recommend another doctor.
Talk with your doctor.
A cancer diagnosis is life changing. Every situation takes time to process and understand. There are many questions, concerns and decisions to make – all of which require that patients and families have meaningful conversations with doctors. Clear communication is key. Here are some suggestions to help make those discussions easier.