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Questions to Ask About Treatment for Oral Cancer

At first, the information you receive about treatment options may seem overwhelming. You may ease the stress by allowing yourself the time to gather as much information as possible about your disease and its treatment and to discuss the issues with your doctors, nurses, and loved ones.

You may find it helpful to make a list of your questions before seeing your doctor. To make it easier to remember what the doctor says, you may want to take notes during meetings with your doctor, or ask if you can use a tape recorder. It might also help to have a family member or friend with you to take part in discussion, to take notes, or just to listen. Use the list of questions below as a starting place for the questions you might ask.

  • What is the stage of the cancer?

  • What treatments do you think are best for me and why?

  • What is the success rate of this particular treatment for my type and stage of oral cancer?

  • What is the length of the treatment period?

  • How long will each treatment take?

  • Who is involved in giving me the treatment? Do I need to be in the hospital for treatments?

  • What is the treatment likely to cost, and is it covered by my insurance plan?

  • Will treatment affect how I look or how I use my mouth? If so, what can be done to help?

  • During treatment, will I be able to go to work and be around my family?

  • Should I try to quit smoking?

  • Are there any clinical trials I should look into?

  • Can I take my other medicines during the treatment period?

  • How will I feel after the treatment?

  • What side effects can I expect to encounter?

  • How long will side effects last?

  • What can I do to ease the side effects?

  • Are there support groups nearby that I can talk to?

  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?

  • Should I get a second opinion?

“Head and Neck Cancer: Questions and Answers.” National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/head-and-neck Accessed 2013.

“Talking with Your Doctor.” Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/talkingwithyourdoctor.html Accessed 2013.

“What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer: Second Opinion.” National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral/page9 Accessed 2013.

“What Should You Ask Your Doctor About Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancer?” American Cancer Society. February 26, 2013. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/oralcavityandoropharyngealcancer/detailedguide/oral-cavity-and-oropharyngeal-cancer-talking-with-doctor Accessed 2013.

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