Young Adults: Questions to Ask Your Health Care Team

Approved by the Lineagotica Editorial Board, 06/2019

Asking your health care team questions is a good way to learn more about your treatment and follow-up care. In fact, doctors and nurses like to know what concerns you have and what topics may be confusing. Asking questions helps give you more control over your care and cope with cancer and its treatment. Here are some tips to make talking with your doctor easier:

  • If you are a teenager, let your parents or guardians know that you want to be involved ahead of time so they can make sure you are included.

  • Think of questions to ask the doctor before your appointment and make sure you ask them. You might also want to write down your questions so you do not forget them.

  • Ask for an explanation if you hear something you do not understand.

  • If you have a suggestion or preference about your care, let your doctors or nurses know. For example, maybe you want to delay a round of chemotherapy so you can attend a special event. The answer may be "yes," but you will not know if you do not ask.

  • If there are things you would rather not know, or would rather not know right now, let your health care team know.

Below are some sample questions you may want to consider asking. You may want to print this list and bring it to your next appointment, or download Lineagotica’s free mobile app for a digital list you can bring with you on your smartphone.

Potential questions to ask your health care team

Asking questions is an important part of managing your care. The questions you choose should be based on your unique needs and interests, and those questions may change over time.

Consider the following questions as you decide what you want to ask your health care team:

General questions

  • What type of cancer do I have? Is it common in people my age?

  • Where can I learn more about this type of cancer?

  • What are my treatment options? Where do I need to go for treatment?

  • What clinical trials are available for me? Where are they located? How do my family and I learn more about them?

  • How do I contact my doctor, and who should I call first if I need something?

Finding Support

  • Are there other people my age with this type of cancer that I can talk to?

  • If I need more support or information about coping with cancer, who should I ask?

  • How will the cancer affect my family and friends?

  • Where can I meet other people my age who have this cancer? Do you have a support group for young adults or teens with cancer?

Coping with body changes

  • What changes should I expect in my body because of the cancer? Are any of these changes permanent? How can I cope with these changes?

  • How will cancer treatment affect how I feel or how I look? Can I avoid these changes?

  • How can I feel better, or avoid feeling worse?

  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have children? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?

Cancer and relationships

  • How will the cancer affect my relationships with family and friends?

  • How could cancer and its treatment affect my partner and our relationship?

  • Will my cancer and treatment affect my interest or ability to have sex? If so, what can we do about it?

School

  • Do I need to take time off school? If so, when can I expect to go back?

  • Will my treatment cause “chemo brain” or similar thinking difficulties?

  • What should I tell my teachers and classmates about my cancer?

  • Are there any activities I should avoid? For how long?

  • If I have questions about keeping up with school or going back after treatment, who should I talk to?

Work

  • Will I be able to work during treatment? Or should I plan to take time off?

  • Should I consider taking a medical leave from work?

  • Will I be able to go back to work after treatment?

  • Are there any restrictions or limitations once I go back to work?

Life after treatment

  • When do I need follow-ups? Who will I see for these appointments?

  • Do I need any regular tests or scans?

  • What programs do you have for survivors, including people my age?

  • What late effects could I have, and when?

  • What are the signs that the cancer is coming back?

For more questions, see the "Questions to Ask the Health Care Team" section of each type of cancer.

Related Resources

Questions to Ask When Making Appointments

When the Doctor Says "Cancer"