What should you ask your doctor about thyroid cancer?
As you deal with thyroid cancer and the process of treatment, you need to have honest, open discussions with your cancer care team. You should feel free to ask any question on your mind, no matter how minor it might seem. Some of the questions you might want to ask are:
- What kind of thyroid cancer do I have?
- Has my cancer spread beyond the thyroid gland?
- What is the stage of my thyroid cancer? What does this mean in my case?
- Are there other tests that need to be done before we decide on treatment?
- Is this form of thyroid cancer hereditary? Should my family be tested?
- Are there other doctors I need to see?
- How much experience do you have treating this type of cancer?
- How much surgery do I need? Should I get other treatments as well?
- What other treatment choices do I have?
- What should I do to be ready for treatment?
- What are the risks and possible side effects of treatment?
- Will I need to take thyroid hormone for the rest of my life?
- How long will treatment last? What will it involve? Where will it be done?
- When can I go back to my normal activities after treatment?
- Will this treatment affect my ability to have children? Do I need to avoid pregnancy for a while?
- What are the chances that my cancer will come back after treatment?
- What would we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer recurs?
- What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
No doubt you will have other questions about your situation. Be sure to write your questions down so that you remember to ask them during each visit with your cancer care team. For example, you might want to ask about getting a second opinion or about clinical trials you may be eligible for. Keep in mind, too, that doctors are not the only ones who can give you information. Other health care professionals, such as nurses and social workers, may have the answers to your questions. You can find more information about communicating with your health care team in our document Talking With Your Doctor.