Pancreatic Cancer Home Page
Questions to Ask Your Physician
I have noticed that many patients and loved ones are a little
uncomfortable when it comes to asking questions to surgeons and
oncologists when given the opportunity. Many are unsure what to ask. So
I thought I would post some suggestions to everyone out there to make this
If you are meeting with a surgeon/oncologist for the first time, do not be
afraid to ask:
At any point in the relationship with your physician, you have the right
- If s/he has ever worked with a PC before (because we all know that PC
is very rare)
- If this is a surgeon, how many surgeries has s/he done with
- What has the general outcome of those patients been?
- Where the physician went to school, did their residency. who they
studied under, etc.
Do not forget to ask about the things that are most important to you:
- What your diagnosis is
- What treatments are recommended
- Are there other treatment options available that your doctor does not
provide (i.e. protocol treatments, herbal therapy, touch therapy, other
- What are the benefits of treatment?
- What are the side effects of treatment?
- What are the medications being prescribed? What are they for? What
are their side effects?
- How do I expect to feel during the treatment?
- What are the risks to the treatments?
- Will my diet need to be changed, modified? Will I need to take
enzymes, vitamins, etc?
Finally - and most importantly - ask these questions to YOURSELF:
- How will this affect my being able to work?
- Can this treatment be done as an outpatient so that I can spend more
time at home with family?
- Will I have any physical limitations?
- How will my current lifestyle be changed?
If you are uncomfortable with the results of some of these questions, you
may want to re-evaluate who your physician is or get a second opinion.
- Does my doctor appear interested in my asking questions - or does
s/he look annoyed, like I'm questioning his/her expertise or I am holding
- Do I feel that my doctor cares about my medical outcome?
- Heather Sentkoski, Clinical Social Worker
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