Talking with Your Doctor
Successful recovery from cancer depends, in part, on being able to talk with your doctor. Working with your doctor and your health care team by using a Survivorship Care Plan can help improve your health and enhance your well-being and peace of mind.
A Survivorship Care Plan is a document that works like a road map. It helps you get through the health care system and chart the course for your care now and in the future. It's OK to ask for a Survivorship Care Plan. In fact, the Institute of Medicine suggests that you do.* To the right is a reference sheet you can give to your oncology team to explain your request for a Survivorship Care Plan.
Below are some comments and questions that many cancer Survivors have told us are important to them. You may have questions and concerns as well. We want you to feel comfortable about discussing these with your doctor and move forward with your life.
I value working with you, and a Survivorship Care Plan is a way for us to keep the focus on my medical and emotional health. I need a record of my treatments, medicines and care. Please complete a Survivorship Care Plan for me. Here is a handy tool that explains what I need and where to find it.
I’ve learned that follow-up care is vital for many cancer treatments. Is that true for me? If so, what do you suggest? Where can I learn more about the follow-up care that I might need?
We both value my health and well-being. Are there types of behaviors, actions or treatments that you suggest now and over time so I can be as healthy as I can be?
I’m concerned about infertility, sexual intimacy with my partner, and/or incontinence. If any of these happen, what do you suggest? Please include your ideas in my Survivorship Care Plan.
I also know that some treatments may increase the chances of anxiety or depression. I also have anxiety that my cancer may come back. What can I do to help manage these emotions?
As you know, once treatment ends, I still need to keep an eye on my care. Will you keep an eye on my care as well? Or can you suggest someone for that part of my care and well-being?
Do you know of any support groups or other services in the community I can turn to? OR Now that treatment is ending, I want to be with others who know what I am going through. I know support groups can help reduce worry and help me return to my life. Can you suggest any groups? Can you suggest any Internet support groups?