Talking with healthcare providers about cancer can be overwhelming. It can be hard to take in all of the information. It helps to be prepared. Make a list of questions and bring it to your appointments. Write the answers down in a notebook. Ask how the treatment will change your daily life, including your diet, and how you will look and feel after treatment. Ask how successful the treatment is expected to be, and what the risks and possible side effects are. You may also want to ask a friend or family member to go with you. He or she can take notes and write down the answers, and may even ask questions you might not think of. You can also ask your healthcare provider if you can record the conversation.
Below are some questions to ask during your appointments.
What kind of vulvar cancer do I have?
What is the grade and stage of my cancer?
Has the cancer spread anywhere else in my body?
What are my treatment choices?
What treatment do you think is best for me? Why?
What side effects should I expect?
How long will side effects last?
Will treatment affect my sex life? How? For how long?
Will I be able to have children after treatment?
What are the goals of the treatment you’re recommending?
What is the success rate of this treatment for my type and stage of vulvar cancer?
What is the life expectancy for someone with my stage of cancer receiving this treatment?
Are there any clinical trials that I can apply for?
Will my health insurance cover treatment?
Will there be costs I have to pay?
What can I do to get ready for treatment?
Should I follow a special diet?
Do I need to change any of the medicines I take?
Will I have to stay in the hospital? For how long?
How long will the surgery take?
What will you do during the surgery?
Will you have to take out lymph nodes?
How will my body look after surgery?
How will my body work? Will I be able to enjoy sex? Pee normally?
What will recovery be like? How long will it take?
What is the length of the treatment period?
How long will each treatment take?
Where do I have to go for the treatment?
Who will give me the treatment?
Does someone need to go with me during treatments?
Can I take my other medicines during treatment?
Are there side effects that I need to call you about?
How do I reach you after hours and on weekends?
What can I do to ease the side effects?
Should I change my diet? What foods can't I eat?
Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?
Are there support groups nearby that I can join?
How will I feel after the treatment?
How will my body look and work after treatment?
What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?
Who will I need to see for my follow-up care?
What long-term side effects do I need to watch for?
How will we know if treatment worked?
What are the risks of the cancer coming back?