Questions to Ask Your Oncologist About Chemotherapy Treatment
If you’re considering chemotherapy, here are 12 very important questions to ask your oncologist BEFORE you schedule any chemo treatments. The purpose of this list is to empower you to take charge of your cancer. No one is more interested in saving your life than you are, and this list will help you in making smart clinical decisions.
1. What is the goal of the chemo for my cancer? Is this a cure?
Doctors rarely use the word “cure.” Instead they say things like “remission” or discuss 5 and 10-year survival rates. Be clear on the expectations of a treatment plan.
2. What are the chances that the chemotherapy treatment will work for me, for my cancer?
Again, know what goal you are looking to reach: a cure, tumor reduction, or removal of symptoms. Ask: “After the chemo will I be cured, in remission, or do you anticipate I will need further treatment?”
3. What chemo-sensitivity testing will you do to determine which chemotherapy agent to use?
Despite the protestations of most oncologists, there is no one right treatment for any cancer. All the while, patients are given drugs that do not have the capacity to work for that particular person, often leading to failure and unnecessary suffering. Medical oncologists are increasingly encouraged to adhere to the standards defined by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines, regardless if the treatments even work or will work for the individual seeking treatment.These guidelines offer recommendations for treatments by diagnosis, based on the response for the “average” patient. But cancer patients are anything but average, and there are no average outcomes. Each cancer patient and each cancer has its own unique characteristics. Sensitivity testing takes some of the guesswork out of the equation by using specialized lab tests to predict how well a particular chemotherapy will work.
4. What is your opinion on taking supplements during treatment?
While most supplements are completely safe to take during treatment and can actually boost the efficacy of treatment, many allopathic (conventional) doctors have not been trained in this subject.
5. What are my other options if I decline treatment?
You are asking this to uncover the doctor’s knowledge of available alternative therapies.
What lifestyle changes will I need to make to improve the outcome of the treatment and protect my body during treatments?
6. How will you nourish and protect my healthy cells while you’re killing my cancer cells?
Also ask how they recommend you detox from the chemotherapy treatment afterwards.
7. What will your proposed chemotherapy treatment do to my cancer stem cells?
8. How will you support my immune system during treatment?
9. What will you do if I become resistant to chemo treatment?
10. How will this treatment change the cancer environment?
11. Ask if it will only kill the cancer that is there and leave you vulnerable to more cancer?
Oncologists don’t always share that once the immune system is depressed, the cancer stem cells can go on to create more cancer.
12. Would you give this same chemotherapy treatment to your spouse or children, and if not, what would you give them? Would you take it yourself?
Belive me, if your Oncologist is able to give you satisfactory answers of these 12 questions and assure you with his hand on his heart that I am doing safe and best for you, go for his treatment but very sorry to say that this will not happen.
- Dr. MS Bindra MD