Talking to Your Doctor About Leukemia
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with leukemia. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
General Tips for Gathering Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your healthcare provider:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
- What type of leukemia do I have?
- Do you know why I got leukemia? Might other members of my family be at risk for developing it?
About Your Risk of Developing Leukemia
- Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for leukemia?
- Is there anything I can do to reduce my risk?
About Treatment Options
What is the best treatment option for my leukemia?
- What other options are there?
- What are the risks and benefits associated with this treatment plan?
- How long will the treatment last?
- What side effects can I expect?
- What will I need to change my daily routine?
- How will I feel during treatment? What can I do to help myself feel better during treatment? What can the doctor do to minimize the side effects I might experience?
- What will I need to do to take care of myself during the treatment period?
- What will we do if the treatment does not succeed?
About Lifestyle Changes
- How do I best protect myself from infections?
- Will I need to change my diet or other daily habits?
- Can I exercise? If so, how much can I exercise?
About Your Outlook
- Are my treatments likely to kill all the cancer cells?
- How do I know that my treatment program is effective?
- How will I know if the leukemia has come back and what will we do if it does?
- Should I consider participating in a clinical trial? If one is appropriate for me, what is the cost relative to the cost of conventional treatment?
- Do you know of a support group I could join?
American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp .
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society website. Available at: http://www.leukemia-lymphoma.org/hm_lls .
National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .
Last reviewed June 2008 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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