Cancer Treatment Side Effects

In this article, we provide a list of questions to ask your oncologist about treatment, prognosis, and planning ahead, as well as questions to ask yourself about your spiritual and psychological needs, legacy and life review, and relationships.

Cancer Treatment Side Effects
Cancer treatment side effects

There is a Time to Treat and a Time to Let Go (Part 4)

Palliative cancer treatment side effects can be difficult to endure for many patients. I feel that patients need to be armed with facts and an understanding of their disease.

This will help them to make educated choices about their future care needs.

Many oncologists and cancer treatment teams are often reluctant to bring up-end of life discussions. It is important to know the right questions to ask the professionals…when you are receiving palliative chemotherapy or chemotherapy … that is unlikely to cure cancer, but may extend the length of your life.

Questions Regarding  Treatment and Prognosis

  • What is my chance of being cured?
  • What is the chance that this chemotherapy will slow my cancer? Stay stable?  Grow?
  • If I start chemotherapy, will it prolong my life? Can you give me a time frame of life expectancy?
  • What are the main side effects of the chemotherapy?
  • Will I feel better or worse with chemotherapy?
  • Are there clinical trials available? What are the benefits? Am I a candidate? What is needed to enroll?
  • What are the likely things that will happen to me?
  • Will you tell me when hospice or palliative care is appropriate?
  • How do you help others make this difficult decision?
  • How long to you think I will live with treatment? Without treatment? (this is a time to ask for a range and most likely scenario and when death may be expected)

Questions to ask about Planning Ahead

  • Are there things that I should be doing to prepare for my future care needs?
  • Should I start preparing my will?
  • Is it time to put an out of hospital DNR in place?
  • Do I need to put a Power of Attorney for health care in place?
  • Are there legal or financial issues that I should be addressing?
  • Will you help me talk with my children and family?

Questions You should ask Yourself

  • Spiritual and psychological: Who can help me cope?
  • Who do I want to
  • Legacy and life review: What do I want to pass on to my family to tell them about my life?
  • Should I set up a family trust?
  • What do I need to do to plan my funeral to make it easier for my family when I am gone?
  • What relationships do I want to repair, at this time in my life?

Facing Our Own Mortality: When Life is Not As Long As We Want It To Be