What you need to know

  • It is important to ask your doctors questions. 
  • Asking questions helps you to better understand your care. 

Tips for seeing specialists

Here are some helpful hints for when you see your specialists, and some questions you may want to ask.

  • Write a list of questions before you see your specialist.
  • Take the list of questions with you and write down your doctor's answers.
  • Take someone with you to the appointment.
  • Keep a diary for appointments and information.
  • If you don't understand something the doctor says ask them to repeat what they said.
  • If the doctor uses words you don't understand ask them to use other words to explain.
  • Ask your doctor to give you a copy of your treatment plan.

Questions you may want to ask

About your cancer

  • What type of cancer do I have?
  • Has the cancer spread?
  • Is it possible to cure or control my cancer?
  • What support services can I access?
  • When do I see you again?

Having tests

  • Will I need to have more tests?
  • What will these tests cost?
  • Why are the tests important?
  • Will the results make a difference to my care?
  • Will you tell me the results of the tests?

Multidisciplinary team meeting (MDT)

  • Will my case be presented at an MDT?
  • How will I know what happened in the MDT?
  • Will my GP be told the outcome of the MDT?

Treatment choices

  • What treatment do you recommend?
  • Where will I receive treatment?
  • Can I have treatment near home?
  • How much will treatment cost?
  • Is there any other type of treatment I could have?
  • Will the treatment cure my cancer?
  • What are the possible side effects of treatment? 
  • How often do I need to have blood tests?
  • How long will I be having treatment?

Clinical trials

  • Are there any clinical trials suitable for me?
  • Who do I speak to about clinical trials?

Having treatment

  • Can I bring someone with me when I have treatment?
  • Will I receive any education about my treatment?
  • Will I be able to catch public transport after treatment?
  • Can I travel to treatment on my own?
  • Can I take vitamins and supplements while on treatment?
  • Do I need to be on a special diet?
  • Are there any foods I shouldn't eat?

Practical questions

  • Will treatment affect my ability to have children?
  • Can I have sex while on treatment?
  • Could the treatment I have contaminate or harm my family while I am on treatment?
  • Can I continue to work while having treatment?

What if

  • Who do I contact if I have a problem?
  • What happens if the treatment doesn't work?
  • Are there nurses and other health professionals who can help me?
  • What do I do if my family or I are not coping or managing well?


Better cancer care

Better cancer care

Every person with cancer should have their care overseen by a specialist on a multidisciplinary team.

Interpreters are available in public hospitals. More information