Talking to Your Health Care Provider about Cervical Cancer
You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or health care provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with cervical cancer. By talking openly and regularly with your health care provider, 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 health care provider:
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out 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 Health Care Provider
About Your Risk of Developing Cervical Cancer
- Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk of cervical cancer?
- What specific things can I do to reduce my risk of developing cervical cancer?
About Cervical Cancer
- What type of cervical cancer do I have?
What is the stage of my cancer?
- What does that mean in my case?
- Has my cancer spread beyond the cervix?
About Treatment Options
- What treatment is appropriate for me? Why?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- How long will my treatment last?
- What risks and side effects should I watch for?
- Will it affect my normal activities?
- Will it affect my sexual activity?
- Will I be able to have children after my treatment?
- What is likely to happen without treatment?
What medications are available to me?
- What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
- Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
- Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?
About Lifestyle Changes
- Should I follow a special diet?
- Are there any dietary changes I should make? How do I go about it?
- Will I feel fatigued?
Should I begin an exercise program?
- What kind of exercise is best?
- How often should I exercise?
- How do I get started exercising?
- Should I stop drinking alcohol?
- If appropriate—how can I find help quitting smoking?
- How will cervical cancer affect my sexual activity?
- Can you recommend some cervical cancer support groups for myself and my family?
- What are the chances my cancer will come back after treatment?
- How will I know that my treatment has been effective?
- How will my fertility be effected?
- What can I tell my family and friends about my condition?
- What is my expected prognosis?
- How often will I need checkups?
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Last reviewed February 2003 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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