12 Questions To Ask Before Saying Yes To Chemotherapy TreatmentRuss Curran
Before committing to chemotherapy treatments make sure you have solid answers to all of these twelve questions.
Choosing to undergo chemotherapy is a major decision. Before committing to this treatment, patients must fully understand the procedure and its effects for both the short-term and long-term. Getting sound answers about chemotherapy from a qualified and trusted resource on the twelve questions listed before is key before saying yes to treatments.
Chemotherapy affects both cancer cells and normal cells. When normal cells are damaged, this can have side effects. Some are short-term effects that can be managed post-treatment but, in some cases, this treatment can also leave a lasting impact on the body.
It is normal to feel anxious or confused. As a patient, you have the right to be informed and to ask relevant questions. Here’s a quick guide on possible questions you can ask your healthcare provider before saying ‘yes’ to chemotherapy.
- Why are you recommending this treatment?
Chemotherapy can take its toll on the body—physically, mentally and emotionally. The side effects of this treatment will also require massive support from family, friends and loved ones. It is important to understand why this treatment should be prioritized over other options.
- How effective will this be?
Ask your doctor about the ‘success rate’ of chemotherapy for the type of cancer that you are dealing with.
- What lifestyle changes should I expect before and during treatment?
Will you still be able to work? Will the treatment affect your cognitive abilities? Should you limit physical activities? How will chemotherapy affect your plans to have a baby in the future?
- What side effects can I expect?
The side effects can vary for each patient, so it is best to be specific about aspects that you are most concerned about.
- What are the risks?
It is important to know the risks because this treatment can leave a lasting and irreversible impact, aside from the desired treatment outcome.
- What is the treatment plan?
If there are details that are unclear or confusing, do not hesitate to ask follow-up questions or to request for a jargon-free explanation. Ask about other treatments that you may need while undergoing chemotherapy to help you manage the side effects.
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- How long will it take?
Knowing the duration of the treatment is vital so you can prepare for the logistics, if necessary. You also need to ask the number of sessions required before the treatment is considered successful.
- What drugs will I be given?
Ask your doctor about the side effects of the drugs that will be given to you. This is also your chance to mention any allergies or aversions.
- What will happen after treatment?
If the treatment is successful, what is the next step in the plan? If it is not deemed a success, what will happen next?
- How much will it cost?
Check if the treatment will be covered by your health insurance provider. Ask about possible payment terms with the hospital. You can also inquire about post-treatment expenses and ways to manage them without affecting the treatment progress.
- Are there clinical trials that you can recommend for me to participate in?
Ask about current research or clinical trials that may be relevant to you and their associated success rates.
- What alternative treatment options do I have?
Is chemotherapy the only way forward? What other forms of treatment can achieve the same goals without the need for chemotherapy? What other alternatives treatments are recommended?
If possible, take down notes so you can remember the details. Bring along a family member or a friend during this discussion, for emotional support and to cover any questions or details you may forget.
And remember: Never feel self-conscious or afraid of wanting to ask these questions. Having sufficient information will allow you to make an informed decision about how you can reclaim your health.