When you see a surgeon today you may have questions and concerns. These can be easily forgotten at that time because dealing with a cancer diagnosis can be stressful and there is a lot of information to remember.
We have compiled a list of questions to help you get the
information you want about your illness and possible
Asking questions is important
You and your family can use this pamphlet to help you decide
what you need to ask your surgeon each time you have an
Tick the questions that you want to ask or write down any that
are not listed. Your surgeon is keen to answer any questions you
may have, either now or at future consultations. If your questions
have already been answered, then this pamphlet can serve as a
checklist. Remember you can ask your surgeon to explain anything
you are unclear about or to explain any words you are not familiar
- What kind of cancer do I have?
- Where is the cancer at the moment? Has it spread to other parts
of my body?
- How common is my cancer?
- Are there any further tests that I need to have?
- What will they tell us? Will they confirm my diagnosis?
- What will I experience when having the test/s?
- How bad is this cancer and what is it going to mean for
- How likely is it that the cancer will spread to other parts of
- What is the aim of surgery? To cure the cancer or to control it
and manage symptoms?
- What is the expected survival for people with my type of
- Is the surgery going to improve my chance of survival?
- What is the best case scenario? What is the worst case
Treatment and information options
- Is surgery absolutely necessary?
- Do I have a choice of treatments?
- How much time do I have to think about this? Do you need my
- Are there any advantages/disadvantages of the private versus
public health system?
- Can I have the surgery earlier if I pay for it?
- What is your opinion about the best treatment for me?
- Could plans to operate on me change? Why?
- Will it be you doing the surgery?
- When will I meet the anaesthetist?
- Will I require a blood transfusion?
- Is there anything I can do before or after surgery to assist my
Effects of the Surgery
- What effects should I expect after the surgery? When are these
likely to happen?
- How long do you expect me to be in hospital and what would
- What problems should I look out for when I go home and who do I
contact if they occur?
- Is there any written information that I can take home about my
- What are the do's and don'ts in after-care?
- What can I expect from the operation long-term eg. exercise,
diet, work, sexuality etc?
- Will I need any additional treatment after the surgery? If so,
what might that be?
- What will be the costs throughout my treatment, e.g.
medication, chemotherapy, etc?
- Am I eligible for any benefits if I cannot work?
- Do you specialise in treating my type of cancer?
- How often have you done this type of surgery?
- How well established is this surgery?
- Are there guidelines on how to treat my cancer?
- Do you work in a multi-disciplinary team and what does this
- Can you explain the advantages of a team approach?
- How do you all communicate with each other and me?
- Who will be in charge of my care?
- What do I do if I get conflicting information?
Top of page
- What information is available about my cancer and its
treatment, e.g. books, videos, websites, etc?
- Are there any complementary therapies that you believe may be
helpful or that are known to be bad for me?
- Is there someone I can talk to who has been through this
- Are there services/support groups that can help me and my
family deal with this illness?