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How should I prepare for my doctor appointments if I have cancer?

Cancer is definitely a difficult topic to talk about, even with your doctor. Further, patients don't retain more than about 20% of what they're told during doctor visit. Therefore, if you're preparing to go to your doctor, consider bringing a friend or family member who is your support system. Write your questions down in advance before coming to the office so you don’t forget them. It may also help to write down the answers to your questions and instructions given by your doctor. You can always ask your doctor for a summary of the visit with important instructions written down for you. 
If you have cancer, be organized and prepared for health care appointments:
  • Keep track of your medications. Bring a list of your medications (both prescribed and over-the-counter) to your appointments. The list should include dates taken, doses and any side effects or reactions noted. You may also want to bring all of your medication bottles. This helps your health care team to stay informed of all the medications you are taking. Also, report vitamins, herbs and food supplements because some may affect your cancer treatment.
  • Bring extra copies of important documents to give to the health care team for your file. You can also email, fax or mail these documents in before the visit. Allowing the health care team to read the documents may help you to communicate.
  • Store pamphlets, medication and side effect inserts, and important papers and phone numbers in one place such as a file, notebook or box.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.