Questions to Ask your Doctor
- What type of pancreatic cancer do I have?
- What is my prognosis?
- Is my cancer hereditary?
- What treatments do you recommend and why?
- What are the side effects of each treatment?
- Are there any other treatments that should be considered that you do not provide?
- How will treatment affect day-to-day life, will I be able to do the things I normally do?
- What would happen if I decided not to have treatment?
- What are the costs involved?
- Have you had much success with treating patients with pancreatic cancer in the past?
- What was the outcome for these patients that you've treated previously?
- Am I able to talk with some of your patients about their experiences?
- If having surgery:
- Who will my surgeon be?
- How many patients has he/she operated on with pancreatic cancer?
- What should I expect after surgery?
- How much pain will I be in?
- How long will I be in hospital for?
- How will my diet change following surgery?
- Are there any clinical trials that I should be aware of?
- If I want a second opinion, can you refer me to another specialist?
Cancer specialists in hospitals work together as a team to decide the most suitable treatment for a patient, and they follow well established cancer treatment guidelines.
Even so, you may want another medical opinion. Some people feel uncomfortable asking their specialist for a second opinion, but specialists are used to patients doing this, and often seek the advice of their fellow colleague in complex cases. Most doctors (your GP or specialist) will be willing to refer you to another specialist for a second opinion, if you feel that it will be helpful.
A second opinion can be a valuable part of your decision making process. It can confirm or suggest changes to your doctor's recommended treatment plan, reassure you that you have explored all of your options, and answer any questions you may have.
As the second opinion may cause a delay in the start of your treatment, you and your doctor need to be confident that it will give useful information. You may later decide you prefer to be treated by the doctor who provided the second opinion, and this is your right.