Talking to Your Doctor About Leukemia
You have your own health past. Talk with your doctor about your risk factors and background with leukemia. By talking openly and often with your doctor, you can take an active role in your care.
Tips for Getting Information
Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your doctor:
- Bring someone with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask. They may also be able to give more details.
- Write down your questions so do you do not forget them.
- Write down the answers you get and make sure you understand what you are hearing.
- Ask for help if you need it. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information. You have a right to know.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What type of leukemia do I have?
- Do you know why I got leukemia? Are other members of my family at risk for it?
About Your Risk of Getting Leukemia
- Based on my health past, lifestyle, and family background, am I at risk for leukemia?
- Is there anything I can do to lower my risk?
About Treatment Options
- What are the best treatments for my leukemia?
- What other options are there?
- What are the risks and benefits of using this treatment plan?
- How long will the treatment last?
- What side effects can I expect?
- What daily habits and routines will I need to change?
- How will I feel during treatment? What can I do to help myself feel better during treatment? What can help lower the side effects I might have?
- What will I need to do to take care of myself during treatment?
- What will we do if the treatment does not help?
About Lifestyle Changes
- How do I best protect myself from infections?
- Will I need to change my diet or other daily habits?
- Can I exercise? If so, how much can I exercise?
About Your Outlook
- Will treatment lead to a cure?
- How do I know if my treatment is working?
- How will I know if the leukemia has come back? What will we do if it does?
- Will treatment keep me from having children?
- Should I consider participating in a clinical trial?
- Do you know of a support group I could join?
- Getting the most out of your doctor appointment. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor.
- Talking with your health care team. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/adjusting-to-cancer/talk-with-doctors.
- The doctor-patient relationship. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/choosing-your-treatment-team/the-doctor-patient-relationship.html.
- Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
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