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Talking with Your Doctor

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Talking with Your Doctor

"You have to have a doctor you can talk to. I really lucked out – I have some of the best doctors." Kaye Kingsberry, Breast CancerSome people find it difficult to share things with their doctor. Remember, doctors are there to help. If you tend to hold your doctor in awe, as many people do, you may feel you are “bothering” him or her when you ask questions. You doctor’s job is to provide you with good medical care and to explain your treatment plan in a way that you are able to understand. Your doctor needs your help.

Being diagnosed with cancer often means you will have several doctors and nurses involved in your care. Therefore, it is important to recognize early on what you need in the way of information and how you want that information presented to you. Good communication is critical to making informed decisions about your medical care.

Consider the following tips to help you when talking with your doctors and nurses:

Decide on how much information you want to know and tell this to your doctors
• Write down your questions in advance so you are certain to ask them
• When you have a question, ask it—then, make sure you fully understand the answer
• Write down the answers so you can accurately recall the information you were given
• Whenever possible, have a family member or close friend with you when meeting with doctors
• If you do not understand what your doctor is telling you, ask him/her to explain it using “non-medical” language
• Address any communication problems directly with your doctor in the effort to make it better

Click here for information on “Talking with Your Doctor” from the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Click here for information on “Doctor, Can We Talk?” from the CancerCare.
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