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Talking to Your Doctor about Cervical Cancer

You have a unique medical history. Therefore, it is essential to talk with your doctor about your personal risk factors and/or experience with cervical cancer. By talking openly and regularly with your doctor, 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 doctor:

  • Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask and then to discuss the meeting later.
  • 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 your 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 Doctor

About Cervical Cancer

  • What type of cervical cancer do I have?
  • What is the stage of my cancer and how does that affect my treatment options?
  • How will you know if the cancer spread beyond the cervix?

About Your Risk of Developing Cervical Cancer

  • Based on my medical history, lifestyle, and family background, am I at an increased risk of cervical cancer?
  • What specific things can I do to reduce my risk of developing cervical cancer?

About Treatment Options

  • What treatments are used with cervical cancer?
  • What treatment is appropriate for me? Why?
  • What should I do to be ready for treatment?
  • How long will my treatment last?
  • What risks and side effects should I watch for?
  • Will it affect my normal activities?
  • Will it affect my sexual activity?
  • Will I be able to have children after my treatment?
  • What is likely to happen without treatment?
  • What medications are available to me?
    • What are the benefits/side effects of these medications?
    • Will these medications interact with other medications, over-the-counter products, or dietary or herbal supplements that I am already taking?
  • Are there any alternative or complementary therapies that will help me?

About Lifestyle Changes

  • Should I follow a special diet?
  • Are there any dietary changes I should make? How do I go about it?
  • Should I begin an exercise program?
    • What kind of exercise is best?
    • How often should I exercise?
    • How do I get started exercising?
  • Should I stop drinking alcohol?
  • How can I find help quitting smoking?

About Outlook

  • Can you recommend some cervical cancer support groups for myself and my family?
  • What are the chances my cancer will come back after treatment?
  • How will I know that my treatment has been effective?
  • What can I tell my husband, children, parents, and other family members and friends about my condition?
  • What is my expected prognosis?
  • How often will I need checkups?
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References:

Talking with your doctor. American Cancer Society website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed November 17, 2015.
Tips for talking to your doctor. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated May 2014. Accessed November 17, 2015.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Last Updated: 11/17/2015

 

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