For the majority of us, the word “cancer” is probably the scariest word to come out of a doctor’s mouth, except for perhaps “malignant”. Fortunately, thanks to advances in medical science and research in the past 30 years, many forms of cancer can be successfully treated.
While research obviously needs to continue to further reduce cancer-related illnesses and deaths, Empowher is here to empower you with the knowledge to ensure you get the best possible treatment and care for your particular situation.
One of the methods of verifying the presence and stage of cancer is through a biopsy. If your doctor is recommending a biopsy, be sure to ask the following questions.
Knowing these details will make a stressful time a little more “manageable” in the sense that you will know what is going on and when to expect answers (from National Cancer Institute).
1) How will the biopsy results affect my treatment plan?
2) What kind of biopsy will I have?
3) How long will it take? Will I be awake? Will it hurt?
4) Is there a risk that the needled biopsy procedure will cause the cancer to spread? Will there be any short-term or long-term side effects from the procedure?
If so, what do I do or who do I contact?
5) How soon will I know the results? How do I get a copy of the pathology report?
6) Who will call me about the results? If I do have cancer, who will talk to regarding treatment? When?
Liver Cancer Checklist
If you’re being investigated for liver cancer and/or are at the stage where you the presence of cancer has been confirmed and you’re trying to decide on treatment, make sure you have the below checklist with you (from National Cancer Institute and National Comprehensive Cancer Network).
1) At what stage is my cancer? Has the liver cancer spread?
2) Do I have cirrhosis or another liver disease as well? How will that affect my treatment options?
3) Do I need any more tests to determine whether I can have surgery?
4) What is the goal of treatment: Will it be to cure or reduce the progress of the disease? What are my treatment choices? Which do you recommend for me?