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Questions to ask about surgery

The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about surgery. Choose the questions that fit your, or your child’s, situation and add questions of your own. You may find it helpful to take the list to the next appointment and to write down the answers.

  • What are my options for removing the cancer? Which surgery do you recommend?
  • What is the name of this operation? What is the correct spelling for this surgery?
  • What are the benefits and risks of surgery?
  • How is the surgery done?
  • Are any lymph nodes removed during this surgery? If so, why?
  • What kind of anesthetic will be used?
  • Will a blood transfusion be needed during surgery?
  • How long will the surgery take?
  • Does this surgery require a hospital stay? If so, for how long?
  • Is there a waiting list for surgery?
  • What are the chances it will be successful? When will we know?
  • Is any preparation needed for surgery?
  • What tests are done before surgery?
  • What are possible side effects of this operation? When would they start? How long do they usually last?
  • Which side effects should I report right away? Who do I call?
  • What can be done to treat side effects?
  • How will pain after surgery be treated?
  • Will I need nursing care at home? What community resources are there to help me after surgery?
  • Is a special diet needed?
  • Are there special things that I should or should not do?
  • Will this surgery affect usual activities? If so, for how long?
  • Will reconstruction be needed after surgery? Do I have to make decisions about reconstructive surgery now?
  • How long does it take to get the results after surgery?
  • Who will explain the results after surgery?
  • Will there be other treatments after surgery? If so, what kind?
  • When are follow-up visits scheduled? Who is responsible for follow-up after surgery?

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