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Questions for Your Doctor

This page is designed to help you get information you need from your doctor, so that you can make informed decisions about your health care. In addition, asking your doctor the following questions will help you understand your condition better. To help you remember what the doctor says, you may take notes or ask whether you may use a tape recorder. Some people also want to have a family member or friend with them when they talk to the doctor--to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen.


  • What tests can diagnose colorectal cancer? Are they painful?
  • How soon after the tests will I learn the results?
  • Are my children or other relatives at higher risk for colorectal cancer?


  • What is the stage of my cancer?
  • What treatments are recommended for me?
  • Should I see a surgeon? Medical oncologist? Radiation oncologist?
  • What clinical trials might be appropriate?
  • Will I need a colostomy? Will it be permanent?
  • What will happen if I don't have the suggested treatment?
  • Will I need to be in the hospital to receive my treatment? For how long?
  • How might my normal activities change during my treatment?
  • After treatment, how often do I need to be checked? What type of followup care should I have?

Side Effects

  • What side effects should I expect? How long will they last?
  • What side effects should I report? Whom should I call?

The Health Care Team

  • Who will be involved with my treatment and rehabilitation? What role will each member of the health care team play in my care?
  • What has been your experience in caring for patients with colorectal cancer?


  • Are there support groups in the area with people I can talk to?
  • Where can I get more information about colorectal cancer?

Return to Home Page

Main Colorectal Cancer Page