The personal risk factors to being diagnosed with cervical cancer can vary between patients. However, there are certain general things that you need to know. Before any patient – doctor questioning starts, it is advisable for you to have another person (close friend or family member) at the questioning table with you to both help remember what was said, and to help think of any relevant questions that may come to light at the meeting.
General questions to be considered while speaking with your doctor:
Cervical Cancer Specifics
- What type of cervical cancer do I have?
- What stage is the cancer at?
- What does the stage mean to me?
- What caused the cancer in the first place?
My Risks Factors
- Am I at an increased risk to the disease? – (medical / family history)
- Should I do anything specific in my case? – (if applicable)
My Treatment Options
- Can my cancer be treated? – (successfully)
- What treatment options do I have? – (alternative, traditional, modern)
- Are the treatment options usually successful?
- When can I start my treatment?
- How should I prepare myself for the treatment?
- How long will my treatment last?
- Will there be any side-effects to the treatment?
- How will they affect my day-to-day activities? – (if applicable)
- Will I still be able to have sex? – (during and after treatment / when)
- Will I still be able to have children? – (after treatment)
- Do I have to take the treatment? – (is there another option?)
- What will happen if I decide not to be treated? – (if applicable)
- Once treatment has been completed – Is that it? – (Do I have to come back?)
My Life-Style Changes
- What will change for me after my treatment?
- Will I have to eat a special diet? – (if so – how do I go about it?)
- Should I exercise? – (if so – what exercises / how often should I do them?)
- Can I still drink alcohol?
- Can I still smoke? – ("think about giving-up")
- Will sexual activity be the same as it was before?
My Future Outlook
- Will my cancer come-back one day?
- What is my prognosis? – (life-expectancy)
- Will I be able to live a normal life again?
- Write down any previously thought of questions.
- Write down the answers received for later revision.
- Make sure any answers are thoroughly understood – (if not ask the doctor to re-explain).
- Do not be afraid to ask a question, however un-important it may seem to you.