Questions to ask about diagnosis
The following are questions that you can ask the healthcare team about diagnosing cancer. 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 test(s) are needed to find cancer? How are they done?
- Will a biopsy be done?
- When will the test(s) be scheduled? Is there a waiting list?
- Who makes the arrangements or appointments for the test(s)?
- Can a support person (such as a partner, parent or friend) be present during the test(s)?
- Where will the test(s) be done?
- Will the procedure be done as an inpatient or outpatient procedure?
- Is an anesthetic or sedation used? If so, what kind?
- Is any preparation needed for the test(s)?
- How long will the test(s) take?
- Are there any side effects to the test(s)? Is the procedure painful?
- Are there any risks involved with the test(s)? What are they?
- Are there special instructions to follow after the test(s)?
- Do I need to arrange a ride home after the test(s)?
- How long does it take to get the results of the test(s)?
- Who will explain the test results?
- May I have a copy of the test results?
- What happens if the results are not normal?
- What other tests will need to be done? Why?
Great progress has been made
Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.