Questions for your specialist about bowel cancer
After a bowel cancer diagnosis, it can be difficult to remember everything you want to ask during an appointment with a specialist.
Here are some suggestions to take to the next appointment:
- Has my cancer spread and, if so, how far?
- What are my chances of recovery?
- What is your experience of treating patients with this disease?
- Am I likely to need a colostomy? If so, might it be permanent?
- What specialists will I see during my treatment and recovery, and why?
- Which postoperative treatments do you recommend, if any? Do I have any other options besides radiotherapy or chemotherapy?
- What side effects should I look for if I have those treatments? Whom should I call about any side-effects?
- How often should I be screened for cancer recurrence?
- Is there any way to help prevent the return of my cancer?
- Can you recommend a good support group or resource where I can get more information?
Working with your doctor to treat bowel cancer
Taking an active role in your medical care is always a good idea. It’s especially important during bowel cancer treatment. There are many important decisions that you and your doctors need to make and it's best if you work together.
Being diagnosed with bowel cancer can make you feel helpless. If you become involved in the treatment process it can give you back a feeling of control. Here are some things you can do to help make a partnership with your doctor work.
Be an active patient. Keep informed about the condition and always discuss the pros and cons of the possible treatment approaches and side-effects.
If you are concerned about the treatment approach, talk to your GP or specialist about getting a second opinion.
Make sure that your doctor knows everything relevant about your health, including other medication, supplements and herbal remedies you are taking. These may interfere with your bowel cancer treatment and recovery.