Tips on Talking to Your Doctor and Lung Cancer Care Team

It's overwhelming when you find out you have cancer. Initially, you might not know what to ask or how to respond, but later you most likely will have many questions. We've compiled tips on talking to your doctor and care team to help you navigate your diagnosis and know how to talk to your doctor about your treatment plan.

  • Ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor or nurse to explain anything about your lung cancer that you don't understand. You might say, "That doesn't quite make sense to me. Can you explain it more simply?"
  • Bring a friend or family member to take notes during appointments. They can record your questions and answers, so you can digest the information later.
  • Speak up. If something is unclear or concerning, bring it up in a constructive way. When talking to your doctor, it is important to voice your concerns and opinions about your treatment.
  • Tell them what you know. Communicate what you know and what you want to know about your lung cancer. Ask your provider to explain things to you in your terms. It can be helpful to repeat back what you hear. You might start off a sentence with, "So you mean I should…"
  • Ask your nurse. Oncology nurses are very knowledgeable and can be great resources for you and your family.
  • Tell them what works. When you talk to your doctor and they explain something in a certain way that works for you, share it with them. You might say, "Seeing pictures really helped me understand what you were trying to explain."
  • Say thanks. If your provider goes above and beyond or makes you feel at ease, express appreciation for their efforts.
  • Be your own advocate! If your provider is not meeting your needs, you are entitled to tell them and/or switch providers. You are in control of your treatment and you should do whatever you find necessary to get the best care possible.
  • Make decisions about your treatment together. When you and your doctor work together to discuss your options and decide on a plan, you will better understand and have more confidence in your treatment.
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