Feb 27, 2015 10:00 AM

Author: Cancer Learning Center

A cancer diagnosis introduces many patients to new medical jargon. It can be hard to understand information and instructions from the treatment team. Sometimes doctors and nurses assume that patients who don’t ask questions agree with the treatment. It’s important for patients to speak up and ask for explanations they can understand.

Here are some tips for communicating with your health-care team.

Bring questions with you. Between appointments, keep a list of health and medication questions that come up. At your appointment, bring the questions to ask your health-care team. Even though your doctor is busy, he or she will want to make sure all your questions are answered before you leave.

Take notes. Bring a note pad to the appointment to write down information from your doctor. Feel free to ask the doctor to repeat information you do not understand. Also ask for the meanings of unfamiliar terms.

Bring a loved one. Having a family member or friend with you at the appointment can help in many ways. Many times, a loved one can ask questions you hadn’t considered or help you remember instructions and terms the doctor uses.

The Cancer Learning Center’s health educators can suggest questions you may want to ask or provide a list of questions to help guide you. Call 1-888-424-2100 or e-mail cancerinfo@hci.utah.edu.

Cancer Learning Center

Huntsman Cancer Institute

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