Talking to Your Health Care Provider about Leukemia
Each person has 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 leukemia. 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 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?
- What type of leukemia do I have?
- Do you know why I got leukemia?
- Is my leukemia acute or chronic?
- Do I have to begin therapy immediately?
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 in my daily routine?
- How will I feel during treatment?
- 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?
- Should I consult with a bone marrow transplant physician at this time?
- Are there any clinical trials offered through the National Cancer Institute or other organizations for which I am eligible?
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 achieve a durable remission?
- 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?
- Do you know of a support group I could join?
- What is my prognosis if I achieve a remission? If I am not able to achieve a remission?
National Cancer Institute
American Cancer Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
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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