Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Stomach Cancer

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about your personal risk factors and/or experience with stomach cancer. By talking openly and regularly with your healthcare provider, you can take an active role in your care.

General Tips for Gathering Information

Here are some tips that will make it easier for you to talk to your healthcare provider:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
  • Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
  • Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.

Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider

About Your Risk of Developing Stomach Cancer

  • Do I have any specific risk factors for stomach cancer?
  • How much of a risk of developing stomach cancer do I face?
  • Are there any risk factors that I can change?

About Stomach Cancer

  • What makes you think I might have stomach cancer?
  • How can we determine whether or not I have stomach cancer?
  • What kind of stomach cancer do I have?
  • Could you explain the tests I need?
  • How accurate are the test results?

About Treatment Options

  • What kinds of treatments are appropriate for me?
  • Will I need more than one type of treatment?
  • Will I need to see other doctors?
  • How long will my treatments last?
  • What are the potential side effects/complications of the treatments?
  • What is the chance that the recommended treatments will cure my stomach cancer?
  • How will we know whether the treatments have been effective or not?
  • What would my options be if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer recurs?
  • While I’m receiving treatment for stomach cancer, will I be able to participate in my usual activities?
  • Can you help me weigh the benefit of the treatments versus the effect they may have on my quality of life?
  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • What kinds of lifestyle changes can I make to help my body be stronger and healthier, so that I can work with the treatments to fight stomach cancer?
  • What kinds of lifestyle changes might make me more comfortable while I’m going through treatments?
  • Do you have recommendations for any support groups for my family and I as we go through this?

About Outlook

  • Is my cancer confined to the stomach, or is it elsewhere in my body as well?
  • What kind of prognosis does my kind of stomach cancer have?
  • How do my other medical conditions affect my prognosis?
  • Once I’ve completed treatments, what will we do to monitor for a return of the cancer?


Gastric carcinoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated September 16, 2016. Accessed September 1, 2017.
Tips for talking to your doctor. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: Updated May 2014. Accessed September 1, 2017.
What should you ask your doctor about stomach cancer? American Cancer Society website. Available at: Updated February 10, 2016. Accessed September 1, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP
Last Updated: 9/1/2017


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