It is important that you ask all the questions that you want to. If you don’t understand the answers, don’t be afraid to ask the doctor and nurses to explain things to you again - they are there to help you and won't mind going over the details again.
We have listed below some examples of questions that might be useful when thinking about things to ask your doctor. It can be helpful to write down your questions before you see your doctor or take some one with you to help you remember the questions you want to ask (and the answers you are given).
- What type of pancreatic cancer do I have?
- Where in my pancreas is the cancer?
- Do I need any further tests to confirm my diagnosis?
- What stage is my cancer?
- Has my cancer spread? If so, where to?
- What is my prognosis?
- Will I be referred to a specialist pancreatic cancer centre? If not, why not?
- Where is the nearest pancreatic specialist centre to me?
- What is an MDT and who are the members of my MDT?
- Who do I contact if I need to speak to someone in an emergency or out of hours?
Information about the types of treatment available to you can be hard to confusing so make sure you ask all the questions you need to so that you understand the treatment being offered to you and how it might affect you.Some example questions are:
- What treatment(s) do you recommend for me and why?
- Will I have chemotherapy?
- Which chemotherapy drug will work best for me?
- What will the chemotherapy achieve?
- Will I have radiotherapy?
- Will radiotherapy control my cancer and/or relive my symptoms
- What are the risks and side effects of the treatment(s)?
- What would happen if I decided not to have treatment?
- Can my tumour be removed surgically?
- What are the benefits and risks of surgery?
- Who will my surgeon be?
- How many patients has he/she operated on with pancreatic cancer?
- What should I expect after surgery?
- How much pain will I be in?
- How long will I be in hospital for?
- Will I have to change my diet following surgery?
- If I cannot have surgery, why not? Has my case been received at the specialist centre?
- Are there any clinical trials that I should be aware of?
- How do I find out about clinical trails?
- Can I/how do I get a second opinion?
Not all patients who participate in a clinical trial will directly benefit from it. This means that when deciding whether to take part in one, there are a number of questions you may wish to ask so that you understand how the trial might affect you.
Some questions that you may wish to ask your doctor include:
- What is the purpose of the trial and how will it help people like me?
- Who is paying for the trial?
- How long will the trial last and how long will I be taking part?
- When will the results of the trial be known?
- If I decide not to participate, what other treatment(s) will get?
- What will happen if I decide to leave the trial before it finishes?
- Will the results of the trial be published openly?
- What are the possible side effects of the trial?
- What are the chances of this trial reducing my cancer and/or improving my health?