Chemotherapy is the most recommended treatment option for cancer patients. However, more often than not, people suffering from cancer are not aware of many things regarding the procedure. If you or your loved one has fallen prey to this dreaded disease, here are a few questions that you should ask your doctor before agreeing to chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy is received by more than half the people with cancer, and is one of the best ways to treat the disease.
The word ‘cancer’ itself is enough to induce fear. If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, it is imperative that you get as much information as possible about it. The details about the disease, its progression, and, of course, the ways to treat it. Depending on the type and stage, your doctor will suggest the appropriate course of treatment. Whatever treatment your doctor suggests, you have to be well-informed about it. Asking questions will help you gain thorough knowledge, and face the long battle that awaits you. This article informs you about chemotherapy, and some important questions to ask your doctor before agreeing to it.
Chemotherapy is one of the most common methods used for treating cancer. It looks out for cancer cells throughout the body, and kills them so as to stop the cancer from progressing and spreading to the other organs. It can be given orally, intravenously, or as a shot, and is administered by the hospital. The type of cancer and its severity determines the frequency as well as the type of drugs to be used during chemotherapy.
Given below are a few questions that you should ask before chemotherapy.
Questions to ask before Agreeing to Chemotherapy
Aim of the Treatment
► If I don’t do any treatment for 6-8 weeks, how could my cancer progress?
► What’s the goal of the chemotherapy sessions for my cancer?
► What are the chances that the chemotherapy will work?
► After the session, will I be cured, in remission, or just have fewer side effects?
► How will we know if the treatment is working?
► Where do I have to go for the chemotherapy sessions?
Other Available Treatments
► If the chemo does not work, are there other options to cure or treat the cancer?
► Will I need other treatments such as surgery and radiation? When and Why?
► Should I look into any clinical trials?
Preparation for Chemotherapy
► How can I prepare for the chemotherapy sessions?
► What lifestyle changes will I need to make post the sessions?
► Will I need to change my diet?
► Will I be able to exercise?
Cost of the Treatment
► What is the cost of chemotherapy sessions, and will my insurance cover it?
► Who will be giving me these treatments?
► If the costs are not covered by my insurance or health plan, do you have any easy payment options?
► What are the risks and side effects of this treatment option?
► What results can I expect after each session?
► What are the possible side effects of chemotherapy?
► What should I do if I have side effects?
► Which side effects should I report to the doctor immediately?
Course of Treatment
► What are the names of the drugs to be used?
► Why do you recommend this particular combination of drugs for my chemotherapy?
► What are these drugs supposed to do?
► How will the drugs be given to me?
► How often will the treatments be given?
► How long will each treatment take?
► How long will the whole series last?
Risks and Precautions
► Is there any special nutritional advice I should follow?
► Are there any special precautions I need to take while on chemotherapy?
► What are the risks involved?
► What are my alternatives?
► What are the likely consequences if I don’t have this treatment?
► Can I take other medications at the same time?
► Can I drink alcohol?
► Will it affect my work or other daily activities?
► Are there special services for patients receiving chemotherapy, such as certain parking spaces or parking rates?
► What support services are available to me? To my family?
► If the insurance company requests a second opinion, or if I would like one, whom do you suggest I see? Why?
You may also come up with a few questions of your own which your doctor will be happy to answer to clear your doubts. If a treatment plan does not work for you, you can question and disagree with your doctor. It is important that your decisions be based on information and knowledge, instead of fear and dread.