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Support >  The art of asking questions during consults

Last update: 07/21/2016

The Art of Asking QuestionsCommunicating Our Priorities and Values  
Questions That Patient-Centered Providers May Ask

The art of asking questions during consults with your doctor

Here, our objective is to help you to become an active and more effective participant in your healthcare by effectively asking your questions and by communicating your personal preferences, concerns, and health status.

It begins with basic communication skills ... h
onesty, courtesy, and diplomacy in order to build mutually respectful and supportive relationships with the members of your healthcare team. 

Establishing bonds and effective communications are fostered too by showing your appreciation for the skills and dedication of your health care team when it is evident.


Review the Big Picture Questions  PDF

The answers your doctor gives to these questions can help you to understand
the basis for the recommendations that you are likely to receive.
Prepare a concise story of your diagnosis and treatment history
to help your doctor to see the big picture. 

Telling your story in a concise way is especially important if it is your first meeting with the doctor.

To prepare for you consults, print and refer to our Bring List
Have a trusted friend or relative take part in the consult.
Having a trusted friend present will add to the quality of the consult.  He or she can also help to record what is said.
Start the consult by asking: "Is this a good time to ask questions, doctor?

This shows that you are respectful of your doctor's time
and appreciate that he has other responsibilities and patients.
Provide a copy of your questions in writing with space for answers

  so your doctor can answer all of the important questions during the consult time and other questions when time allows.

Indicate which questions are most important to you. 

Indicate that some of your lower-priority questions can be answered later when time allows, by phone or email. 
Communicate honestly about side effects and symptoms (refer to our Symptoms Checklist PDF)
and your preference for the Goal or Intent of Treatment

Ask your doctor what symptoms are important to report immediately, and which are common and
likely to resolve with time.

Printable PDF


Questions That Patient-Centered Providers May Ask

What do you know about your cancer?
How much would you like to know about the type cancer that you have?
Would you like me to write down the important points?
Who would you like to include in discussions about your care?
What is important to you in terms of the approach to treatment and your care?

See Goals or Intent of Treatment
What are you hoping for and expecting?
Now that we have discussed your cancer, what is your understanding of your situation?
Who are your other doctors, so that we can communicate with them?

Communicating Our Personal Priorities and Values

On this question YOU are the expert!

I prefer a treatment, or approach to my care, that:


Is most likely to help my symptoms to be relieved quickly


Provides the best chance for a cure
  I will accept certain long term toxicities if there is a chance for cure?


Has the least risk of death


Has the lowest short-term risks and fewest side effects


Will be the least disruptive to my normal life, such as can be administered at home


That is least burdensome to my loved ones


Will have the least negative impact on my quality of life


Is most likely to be the best approach in the long term - is most likely to improve my survival


What do you know about your cancer?

Be sure to communicate:

Your level of fatigue and how it affects your daily life


Your level of anxiety and how it affects your daily life


How much pain you are experiencing and how it affects your daily life


Your overall quality of life (very poor - to excellent)


If you need or require social or financial services

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Disclaimer:  The information on Lymphomation.org is not intended to be a substitute for 
professional medical advice or to replace your relationship with a physician.
For all medical concerns, you should always consult your doctor. 
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