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What should I ask my cancer doctor about my life expectancy statistic?

Even though life expectancy statistics can be confusing and at times frustrating, healthcare professionals feel it is the easiest way to talk with you about life expectancy. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor for further explanation and to keep asking until the answer is clear to you.

Here are some questions you may ask your doctor about life expectancy:

  • Did the people that the statistic is based on receive the same treatment that I received?
  • If my life expectancy is 10-20 years, does this mean 10-20 years without the cancer coming back?
  • If the cancer comes back, does that affect my life expectancy?
  • Are there any special circumstances, such as other illnesses or late effects of treatment, that could affect my life expectancy?
  • Is there anything I can do to increase my life expectancy?
  • How does my treatment compare to that used in the study?
  • Can other health conditions affect my survival rate?
  • Are there other treatments that may be helpful?
  • What types of healthy living habits might help me?

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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.