Cancer is not a pleasant word to hear no matter what the situation is. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed, and have a million questions reeling around in your head about your diagnosis, and what lies ahead. The first important step is to make an appointment with your oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer.
Depending on the type of cancer and stage of your disease (I-IV), your first appointment after your diagnosis will usually either be with a surgical oncologist, a medical oncologist, or a radiation oncologist. Anyone of these oncology specialists are knowledgeable and will work with you to make informed decisions about your care. Most importantly, they can help you and your loved ones better understand your diagnosis and treatment options.
As part of your initial consultation with an oncologist, the doctor will discuss your disease, treatment options, and prognosis (the doctor’s prediction of how well you’re expected to recover). Of course, the prognosis will depend on the type of cancer, stage of the disease when first diagnosed, and your response to treatment. Some cancers are not curable but may be treatable for improved quality of life.
Your medical history is an important part of your consultation with an oncologist. It may be helpful to attend the appointment with written notes regarding the medications you take, any related previous treatments or test results, and whether you have a family history of cancer. The more the doctor knows, the better chance he or she can help you.
Listen to what your oncologist has to say, not only because a lot of your questions may get answered that way, but also it can spark an open dialogue of your condition with the doctor.
Here are some questions to ask during your first appointment with an oncologist:
- What is my diagnosis and how soon do I need to start treatment?
- Based on my diagnosis, what are my treatment options, what’s involved, and how long will each treatment take?
- What is my prognosis?
- What are the benefits of the recommended treatment? Any major potential risks and side effects?
- How will treatment affect my daily routine?
- Can my cancer diagnosis or treatment impact my fertility? If so, is there anything I can do to protect my ability to have children in the future.
- What should I do if I develop new symptoms after I begin treatment?
- Are there any additional resources for support that are available to help me cope with my diagnosis?
Cancer is not an easy thing to go through alone. Oncologists are here to guide you in the best direction for your health and well-being.
CyberKnife Miami has treated over 3,500 cancer patients successfully, extending and improving their lives. To learn more about how our oncologists can help you, call CyberKnife at (800) 204-0455 in Miami, Florida. Or you can contact us online to schedule an appointment.