Tips on Getting the Most From Your Appointments During Cancer Care
During your first few appointments with your cancer doctor, it’s going to be tough to keep track of all the details. You’ll be flooded with information: the names of doctors, medications, cancer treatments, and inevitably, a good dose of medical jargon. Here are some ways to make your appointments as useful as possible.
Take notes. Always go to your meetings with a pad and paper to write things down. “You can even bring a tape recorder, so you can listen to the whole conversation again when you get home,” says Terri Ades, MS, APRN-BC, AOCN, director of cancer information at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta.
Bring a partner. Obviously, a friend or loved one can provide moral support during a tense conversation. But he or she can also play an important practical role. Your partner may remember details that you were simply too overwhelmed to take in. Or he or she may prompt you to ask important questions that you forgot.
Ask for information to bring home. At the end of your meeting, see if your doctor has any literature about your cancer or the cancer treatments he or she has recommended. Having something you can read over at home -- when you’re out of the stressful environment of the doctor’s office -- can be enormously helpful.