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Questions to Ask About Treatment for Colorectal Cancer

At first, the information you receive about treatment options may seem overwhelming. You can ease the stress by giving yourself time to gather as much information about your disease and its treatment options as you can. Then you can discuss your concerns with your doctors, nurses, and loved ones.

You may find it helpful to make a list of questions before seeing your doctor. Use the list of questions below as a starting place for the questions you want to ask. To make it easier to remember what the doctor says, you may want to take notes during meetings with your doctor or ask if you can record the conversation. It may also help to have a family member or friend with you to take part in discussion, to take notes, or just to listen:

  • What are my treatment options and should I get a second opinion? 

  • What treatment do you think is best for me? Why?

  • What is the success rate of this particular treatment for my type and stage of cancer?

  • How much experience do you have treating cancers like mine? 

  • Are there any clinical trials I should look into?

  • Are there support groups nearby that I can talk to?

  • Will you be able to perform sphincter-saving surgery?

  • Will I have to have a temporary or permanent colostomy?

  • Can I take my other medicines or over-the-counter drugs including vitamins during the treatment period?

  • What is the length of the treatment period?

  • How long will each treatment take?

  • Where do I have to go for the treatment?

  • Who is involved in giving me the treatment?

  • Does someone need to go with me during treatments?

  • How will I feel after the treatment?

  • What side effects can I expect?

  • How long will side effects last?

  • Will there be side effects I need to call you about?

  • What can I do to ease the side effects?

  • Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?

  • Should I change my diet? What foods can’t I eat?