What to Expect from our Medical Oncologists
When you first meet with your medical oncologist, he or she will discuss with you your cancer condition and treatment options, including carefully explaining why your treatment options are recommended and what they involve.
To help you remember and understand all that’s discussed, it’s a good idea to bring someone with you who can take notes, or to bring a recording device. This is so that after the appointment, you can go over the treatment options that have been discussed, including possible side effects, scheduling for the treatment and more, should you need to.
If questions come up after your appointment, you can call your medical oncologist. There’s always the option to set up a second appointment to go over your treatment plan again.
Once your treatment plan is determined, your medical oncologist will meet with you regularly during the course of your treatment, so he or she can:
- closely monitor your progress
- help you with side effects, if there are any
- determine if your treatment plan needs to be modified or changed
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
It’s always a good idea to come to a doctor’s appointment with questions you’ve thought of ahead of time. Share the questions with your family, a close friend or someone on your cancer care team before your appointment, so they can help you think through everything that’s on your mind regarding your cancer.
Be open about your concerns and hopes. And, if you feel you need support, ask your medical oncologist for information about support groups, our patient navigators and support services, such as integrative medicine.
Here are 12 questions to consider for your list:
- What is my cancer and why do I have it?
- Why is the therapy you're recommending for me the best treatment for my cancer?
- Will there be side effects and, if so, what will they be?
- What side effects should I report to you right away? Will I have all the possible side effects?
- What if I have questions during my treatment? Who should I talk to or contact?
- Who will arrange my treatment schedule?
- How will I feel during treatment?
- What kinds of changes in my daily life will I have to make while I am going through these treatments?
- Are there any changes I will have to make in my diet? Can I drink alcohol?
- What is the goal of my treatment?
- If I choose not to have the treatment, what will happen?
- How successful can we expect this treatment to be?
Where to Keep Track of Your Cancer Treatments
We understand this can be a confusing time. There’s overwhelming medical information to absorb and appointments that can affect the routine of your daily work and family schedules.
To help you, we’ve created the OhioHealth Cancer Planner. It’s a tool you, your family and/or a caretaker can turn to as one convenient place where your cancer experiences are documented, from the medications you take to how you feel. For example, in the Cancer Planner you can:
- Record your medications
- Track when you get your treatments
- Record possible side effects to share with your doctor
- Organize your appointments and take notes about them
- List questions for the doctors and information you want to share.
There's also a space for the response and a plan you and your doctor may discuss. Use the cancer planner to help support you as you go through your cancer treatment. Look at it not just as a daily log of what happens, but also as a powerful tool for your communications with your medical oncologist.