Questions to ask
Questions to ask your doctor
It is always helpful to have someone accompany you to help you take notes and serve as your memory after the visit.
If this is your first visit after being diagnosed and you have not started treatment yet, here are a few questions you might want to ask your doctor:
- What are the results of the bone marrow biopsy and what is the stage of the disease? (Most patients are diagnosed in a chronic phase)
- What treatment will I start? (Most patients will be started on Gleevec, also referred to as imatinib mesylate, at around 400mg per day. If your doctor is prescribing a different dose, do you understand why?)
- What does this drug do and how will its effectiveness be monitored?
- What if I miss a dose?
- What are some of the side effects that I might expect with this drug and what can I do to minimize them?
- Are there any side effects for which I should seek immediate medical attention?
- How do I buy this drug and will I need help with my insurance provider?
- Can I still have an occasional glass of wine or other alcohol while I am on this drug?
- Are there any other drugs that would interact with this drug?
- Is there a clinical trial for a new drug for newly diagnosed patients? If so, what would be the pros and cons of participating in a clinical trial?
- Do I need to be concerned about pregnancy, breast feeding or sterility?
- Will I be able to go to work? Is there anything specific I shouldn’t do while I am taking this drug?
After your first visit, make sure you make arrangements for your next visit before leaving the hospital.
If this is a visit after you have already started treatment, take the time to review your diary, if you are keeping one, and make note of any specific thoughts or concerns to share with your doctor. Review your last test results and ask yourself if there is anything that you do not understand. If you are experiencing side effects remember that you do not have to suffer needlessly. In most cases your doctor will be able to help you. Try to think about what information you might need to help you better understand this disease.
Here are some general questions you might want to ask if they apply to you:
- I have been feeling fatigued but my hemoglobin (Hgb) levels are normal. What else could be causing the fatigue?
- I noticed my hemoglobin (Hgb) and hematocrit (HCT) levels are below the normal range. Could this be why I am feeling fatigued?
- I have been experiencing diarrhea. What can I do to ease this situation?
- What can I do to alleviate the nausea I have been feeling when I take my pills?
- Why am I experiencing a tingling sensation in my hands/arms/legs/feet?