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Questions to Ask Your Doctor

When you visit your mesothelioma doctors, it can be a chaotic and confusing time. It’s easy to forget questions to ask.

Even with the best doctors, there is a limited time to ask questions and get answers. It’s important to start your discussion with the doctor with an overview statement regarding your questions. For example, you could tell your doctor that you have several questions that you want to address during the appointment.

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In addition to bringing a list of questions, it also may be helpful to bring a family member or friend to your appointments. This person should be able to help you remember your questions and discuss the answers later. It also might be helpful to bring a tape recorder and a notebook to the appointment to record the answers for review later. Some medical centers even provide the equipment.

There are different questions to ask depending on the diagnosis, treatment, doctors and recovery, among other things.


  • What type of mesothelioma do I have?
  • How serious is it?
  • How much has the disease progressed or spread?
  • What is the long-term and short-term outlook or prognosis for this disease?
  • Can this disease be controlled?
  • How did you confirm this diagnosis?
  • What kind of tests are next?
  • When will I know the results?

Medical personnel

  • How many physicians will be involved in my care? Who are they and what is their background?
  • Do you utilize a team approach to cancer care, and what does that mean to you?
  • Who will be in charge of coordinating my care?
  • What other medical professionals will be on my team?
  • Do you have a recommendation for a second-opinion doctor?


  • What treatments do you recommend for my type of asbestos cancer? Explain the treatment.
  • Why do you recommend this treatment over others?
  • What are the benefits and risks?
  • How many patients have you treated with asbestos cancer and what has been the overall outcome?
  • Who will administer the treatment?
  • How long will treatment last?
  • How will treatment impact my ability to work?
  • What kind of complementary and alternative treatments do you recommend?
  • What kind of side effects should I expect?
  • How soon should I start treatment?
  • What are the risks if I delay treatment?
  • How much time do I have to make a decision?

If surgery is recommended

  • What is the name of the surgical procedure you are recommending?
  • Why do you recommend this?
  • Is this a curative approach to my asbestos cancer?
  • What can I expect if I don’t have the surgery?
  • Is there more than one way to perform this surgery?

Clinical trials

  • Are you participating in clinical trials?
  • What type of patient do you typically recommend for a clinical trial?
  • Should I consider a clinical trial?
  • Are there clinical trials being performed for my type of asbestos cancer?


  • How long can I expect to recover?
  • What are my chances for remission?
  • Will I have to undergo follow-up tests?
  • What can I expect my quality of life to be during recovery?

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University of California San Francisco. Questions to Ask Your Doctor. Retrieved from http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/questions_to_ask_your_doctor/index.html

Cleveland Clinic. Questions to Ask Your Doctor. Retrieved from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/patients-visitors/prepare-appointment/questions-to-ask-your-doctor.aspx