Many cancer treatments have the potential to impact your overall quality of life (QoL). Before making any decision to use a treatment it is important to understand what might be the possible impacts of the treatment not only on the disease, but also on your life. Impacts could be positive or they could be negative. Knowing what are the possible impacts, will help you decide what are the most appropriate treatments might be for you.
One way to learn about these impacts is to ask your healthcare provider. Here are some possible questions to ask. Don’t limit yourself to these questions; use them as a springboard for a more thorough conversation with your healthcare provider:
- What are the positive results I could experience from the treatment?
- What are the possible negative side effects I might experience with the treatment being considered?
- How common are these side effects?
- If I am going to experience any of these side effects, when should I anticipate having them?
- How do the possible benefits of the proposed treatment compare to the risks I will have?
- If I have a side effect, for how long should I expect to continue to experience it?
- Is there anything we can do to limit my risk for the side effect or to decrease the time I will experience it?
- Can I take any medication to limit my risk for the side effect or to decrease the time I will experience it?
- Can there be any long term consequences to having the treatment and how will this be monitored?
- At what point should I contact my healthcare provider and let them know about a negative side effects I am experiencing?
- At what point should I consider the negative side effects are outweighing the positives and stop the treatment?
- Have you used this treatment before with other patients and what were their negative and positive experiences?
Don’t limit your questions to just your doctor. Ask other men who have taken the treatment. Go to the pharmaceutical company’s webpage as well as web pages such as Drugs.com. Google the treatment and read anything elase you can find and, of course, consult this blog.