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The Top 5 “Must Ask” Questions After A Cancer Diagnosis

The Top 5 “Must Ask” Questions After A Cancer Diagnosis
The Top 5 “Must Ask” Questions After A Cancer Diagnosis
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You’ve been diagnosed with cancer so you and your family want to do everything possible to beat it and get on with your life. Understandable but some tests, treatments and procedures may do more than good. In other words sometimes less is more. It’s important to figure out if the treatment options given to you will actually make you live longer and what the quality of your life will be. You may not feel an extra two or three months puking your guts out from chemo is worth it. Some may think it is. As always the final decision is yours but you need information to make the right decision for yourself. These five questions will help. And bring someone level headed with you to the doctor to take notes and ask questions. This will be one emotional visit, I guarantee you.

1. What kind of cancer do I have? You want organ and tissue
type e.g. lung cancer, squamous tissue type.

2. What stage is my cancer? You want to know how far has it spread e.g. confined within original organ, spread locally to lymph nodes or all over your body.
3. What happens if we do nothing? How long? With treatment, how long? What tests will you use to see if my treatment is actually working?
4. At this point do I really need more chemo? If your cancer has spread after three different treatments the likelihood of further treatment prolonging your life is slim. In fact more chemo will not only make the quality of your remaining time lousy but might actually shorten the time you have left. So always question the fourth round of treatment and why it’s needed.
5. What about a second opinion? Get one. I would. Best way to do it is to get digital copies of your tumor biopsies and scans. Remember it’s not copies of the reports but the actual scans and tissue biopsies themselves. This way your second opinion doctor can make up her own mind what’s wrong and what’s next for you.
Remember cancer is a generic term. Some are curable; some aren’t. Other factors you must consider before going into aggressive treatment is your overall health. If it’s not good that may limit your options. If your cancer is advanced don’t be afraid to discuss the hospice alternative. Going to hospice does NOT mean you’re giving up. In fact studies have shown people with advanced cancer often live longer than those who are in and out of acute care hospitals.

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