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Top 10 Questions You MUST Ask Your Oncologist

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Cancer is a serious and terrifying disease. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, your mind is probably filled with fear, worry, and questions. Therefore, it is important to talk openly and frankly with your oncologist. And to better understand your cancer and your treatment options, it is imperative to know WHAT to ask. If you are determined to beat this disease, here are the top 10 questions you MUST ask your oncologist:

  1. What is the rationale for your recommended treatment and is your expectation for me curative (achieving long-term remission) or pallia­tive (improving quality of life)?
  2. What might my overall survival time be if I follow your recommendations compared to not following your recommendations?
  3. How many of the following hallmarks of cancer will you be targeting: a) Genetic instability, b) sustained proliferation, c) replicative immortality, d) dysregulated metabolism, e) evading growth suppressors, f) resisting cell death, g) tumor-promoting inflammation, h) angiogenesis, i) tissue invasion and metastasis, and j) immune evasion?
  4. What are the likely side effects of treatment and how will you deal with each of them?
  5. How do you plan to prevent damage to the DNA and mitochondria of my normal (healthy) cells?
  6. What will you be doing to strengthen my immune system to help fight cancer?

  7. Studies have shown that a significant percentage of cancer cases have their roots in diet and lifestyle. Also, chemotherapy and radiation can lead to nutritional deficiencies. To address these issues, what diet, life­style, and nutritional supplements do you recommend that may improve my treatment outcome?

  8. Treatment resistance, systemic toxicity, and immunosuppression are leading causes of treatment failure and subsequent mortality. What is your plan to overcome these challenges if they occur?

  9. Cancer stem cells are thought to be the root cause of distant metastasis, cancer recurrence, treatment resistance, and ultimately the cause of death in someone with cancer. What will you be doing to target my cancer stem cells, since chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery do not target these cells and can, in fact, stimulate them to proliferate and spread?

  10. Are you knowledgeable about alternative cancer treatments? If not, are you willing to work with physicians with expertise in integrative cancer therapies that may improve the efficacy and reduce the toxicity of conventional therapy, provide nutritional support, enhance my immunity, inhibit metastasis, lower the risk of cancer recurrence, and improve my overall survival and quality of life?

    The above questions will help you prepare for your appointment so you will come away from the visit with the crucial information you need to move forward and fight your cancer properly. Do not be afraid to ask these questions. Your health and very life may be on the line, so insist on complete answers from your oncologist. Ask a friend or family member to accompany you as a second set of eyes and ears to listen to what the doctor says. And be sure to take notes for later reference.

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