Oncologists and hematologists are specialists who treat persons with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, myelodysplastic syndromes and myeloproliferative diseases. Pediatric hematologist oncologists treat children, adolescents and some young adults who have blood cancers. The oncologist or hematologist-oncologist coordinates a treatment and follow-up plan that involves other doctors as well as nurses, social workers, case managers and nutritionists.
What to Ask About Your Treatment
You will almost certainly find it overwhelming to remember everything your treatment team tells you. It's a good idea to take notes when you visit the doctor or bring someone along who can write down instructions about your therapy. Ask your doctor for any printed information about the specific cancer and treatment. If you don't fully understand something your doctor says, ask him or her to explain it again.
Before you begin your cancer treatment, make sure you're aware of any potential side effects and how the treatment may affect your body. Many side effects are manageable when proper precautions are taken.
Here are some questions to ask before you begin treatment:
- What are the possible side effects of this treatment? When are they likely to occur?
- What can I do to relieve the side effects?
- Are there any complementary and alternative therapies that I can use to help me better handle side effects?
- Do I need to be concerned about fertility or pregnancy and breastfeeding?
- Will this drug have any effect on my menstrual cycle?
- Will I have any special nutritional needs? Are there any known food-drug interactions of my treatment?
- Do I need to consume extra fluids while undergoing therapy?
- Can I drink alcoholic beverages?
- Should I be aware of any test results that could be affected by treatment?
- Will any of the medications I'm currently taking interact with this treatment?
- What are the names of the drug I will be taking? How do they work?
- How will the drugs be given and how long will each treatment last?
- How many treatments will I receive and for how long?
- Where will I get my treatment?
- Do I have a choice about when to begin treatment?
- Do I have a choice about which days or time of day to schedule my treatment?
- Will I need assistance on the day of my treatment?
- Are there signs or symptoms I'll need to watch for after I finish treatment with this drug? For how long?
- Will I be able to work or go to school while I'm undergoing treatment?
- Will this drug cause drowsiness or affect my alertness? Can I drive or do jobs that require me to be alert?
- Do I need to take to avoid strong sunlight or tanning beds while taking this drug?
Click here to download lists of suggested questions to take with you when you visit your doctor.