Questions for your Doctor
Be prepared to speak with your doctor by writing your questions down and bringing the list with you to your appointment. When the doctor answers your questions, be sure to write down his/her responses. If things are not clear, to ask for clarification! Use the lists below as a guide:
Treatment, Medication and Surgical Procedures
About Treatment Options:
- What is the recommended treatment? Are there other choices?
- What are the chances the treatment will work?
- What are the expected results? When will I see them?
- What are the risks?
- What are the benefits?
- Are there any side effects? What can be done about them?
- Is the treatment painful? How can the pain be controlled?
- What happens if I choose to have no treatment at all?
- How much does the treatment cost? Will my health insurance pay for it?
About Prescription Medication:
- What is the name of the medication you have prescribed for me and what is it supposed to do?
- When and for how long should I take the medication? Can I get these directions in writing?
- What should I do if I miss taking this medication?
- How long will I have to take this medication? When can I stop taking it?
- Are there foods, drinks (especially alcohol), other medications, or activities I should avoid while taking this medication?
- Are there common side effects to this medication? What should I do if they occur?
- Will this medication interact with other medications I am currently taking? If so, what can I do to lessen any negative effects?
- How can I learn more about this medication?
About Surgical Procedures:
- Do I really need this surgery? Is there some other way to treat my condition?
- What will happen if I wait until later to have surgery? Or never have it at all?
- How often does this type of surgery help my problem? How much does it help it?
- Where will the surgery be performed?
- Which surgeon will be operating on me?
- What kind of experience does s/he have with this kind of procedure?
- What complications or side effects might I have?
- What kind of pain might I have? How will it be treated?
- How long will it take me to recover?
- Will I need help at home? What kind of help and for how long?
- How much does the surgery cost? Will my health insurance pay for it?
Testing and Diagnosis
- What is this test and why are you recommending it?
- What information will this test provide? Are there other ways to obtain the information?
- How will the test results affect my care?
- How accurate is the test? Has it been proven safe and reliable in women?
- How should I prepare for the test? When can I eat before and after it?
- Who will perform the test? Where will it be conducted? How often has that person/lab performed the test during the past year?
- What dangers or risks are associated with this test?
- Will I be awake during the test? Will it hurt or be uncomfortable?
- How long will the test last? When can I go home?
- Will there be any pain or side effects after the test?
- How and when will I receive the test results?
- How much will the test cost me?
- What is the technical name of my disease or condition, and what does it mean in plain English?
- Will I need any additional tests?
- What lifestyles changes will I need to make to improve my health?
- Is there a chance that someone else in my family might get the same condition?
- Will I need special help at home for my condition?
- Is there any treatment?
- What are my treatment options?
- How soon do I need to make a decision about treatment?
- What are the benefits and risks associated with my treatment options?
- Is there a clinical trial (research study) that is right for me?
- What organizations and resources do you recommend for support and information?