Ask Your Doctor

ask your doctor about mesothelioma
Curiosity is a mesothelioma patient’s best friend. It helps you get to know your disease. Curiosity encourages you to learn more about your treatments and to get your medication regimen hammered out. It often leads to the discovery of clinical trials or treatments you might have otherwise missed.

But most importantly, asking questions helps you come to terms with your disease.

Inquire with your doctor about mesothelioma. Learn all you can about it. Asking questions can help you or your family members get through initial feelings of denial or shock. It can soothe your fears, refocus your attention on staying well and help you learn your medical and legal options.

Here are some questions to ask your doctor about mesothelioma. Remember, if you don’t see a question in this list, bring it up anyway. It’s better to err on the side of caution, as your clinicians will almost certainly agree.

Most of these questions come courtesy of the American Cancer Society, the Mayo Clinic and the New York University Medical Center:

  • Can you write down the exact type of disease that I have?
  • What leads to mesothelioma? What are the risk factors?
  • What usually causes the symptoms I have?
  • Do conditions other than mesothelioma cause these symptoms?
  • Will I need more tests to solidify or clarify my diagnosis?
  • Has my mesothelioma spread from where it started?
  • What stage of mesothelioma do I have, and what does that mean for my health?
  • What kinds of exams do you need to perform before you can decide on the best treatment for me?
  • Have you treated mesothelioma before? If so, how often?
  • Does my history of asbestos exposure affect medical options?
  • Are there other physicians that I’ll need to visit? Can you refer me to them?
  • Should I look for a second opinion about my illness?
  • What treatment options will I have? What do you think you’ll recommend?
  • How long will my treatments last? What do they involve? Are there any complications to keep in mind?
  • How can I get myself ready for mesothelioma treatment?
  • What is the goal of surgery/chemotherapy/radiation?
  • What is the likelihood that mesothelioma will come back after these treatments?
  • How will treatment change the way I live my day-to-day life?
  • Is there follow-up care?
  • Will I need palliative or supportive care?
  • What happens if the treatment doesn’t work?
  • In general, what is the best course of action?
  • Are there alternatives to the approach that you’re recommending?
  • Will my insurance cover treatment?
  • Are there generic versions of any of the medications that you are prescribing me?
  • Will I have any dietary or physical activity restrictions?
  • I have other health problems. What’s the best way to handle them and mesothelioma at the same time?
  • Do you have any educational materials that I can take home?
  • What websites should I look at to learn more about mesothelioma? Are there any that it’s best I avoid?
  • How can I learn more about my rights as a patient?
  • I have a history of asbestos exposure. What are my legal options?
  • Should I prepare a will?
  • Are there any new or experimental treatments for mesothelioma?
  • What can my family do for me day-to-day?
  • Where can I find support groups for people with mesothelioma and their families?