You’ve been diagnosed with a bone tumor. What’s next?
As you cope with your extremity tumor / cancer and treatment, you will need to have honest and informed conversations with your doctor or other members of your health care team to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment plan and overall care. Because medical appointments can be brief, and because there’s often a lot of ground to cover, it’s a good idea to be well-prepared.
- Write down a list of questions for your doctor before your appointment (see list of possible questions below).
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make your appointment, be sure to ask if there’s anything you need to do in advance, such as bringing medical records or restricting your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled your appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you’re taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Remembering all the information at your appointment can be difficult.
- Bring previous scans or X-rays (both images and reports) and any other medical records important to this situation.
QUESTIONS TO ASK
Make sure to list your most important questions first in case time runs out.
- What type of tumor do I have?
- If cancerous,what is the stage and what does that mean?
- Has my tumor or cancer spread beyond its primary site?
- What treatment choices do I have?
- What are the chances treatment will cure my condition?
- What are the side effects and risks of each treatment option?
- How will this treatment affect my ability to live my daily life? (Work, mobility, sex, travel, etc.)
- Will treatment effect my ability to have children?
- Is there one treatment that you think is best for me?
- What is the expected timeline of my treatment plan?
- What would you recommend to a friend or family member in my situation?
- Am I in the best place for treatment of my type of tumor / cancer?
- If I would like a second opinion, could you recommend a specialist?
- Do you have any printed materials I could take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- If I’m worried about managing my costs related to my medical care, who can help me with these concerns?
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM YOUR DOCTOR
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
- If you’re having pain, how would describe your pain?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?