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Talking to Your Healthcare Provider About Esophageal Cancer
General Tips for Gathering Information
- Bring someone else with you. It helps to have another person hear what is said and think of questions to ask.
- Write out your questions ahead of time, so you don't forget them.
- Write down the answers you get, and make sure you understand what you are hearing. Ask for clarification, if necessary.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing. You have a right to know.
Specific Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Provider
- Is there anything in my medical history to warrant a look at and biopsy of my esophagus?
- How do I know if my heartburn is being treated adequately to prevent it from becoming cancer?
- What treatments do you recommend?
- Please explain the risks and benefits of each treatment.
- How effective are these treatments?
- What is the long-term outlook for this type of cancer?
- Can you refer me to an organized support group so I can talk to others who have had similar experiences?
- Please connect me with a pain treatment center.
- Do I need a nutritionist?
- How severe do my swallowing symptoms need be before I should seek intervention to prevent lung complications?
- How will different treatment options affect my quality of life?
- When should I consider hospice care?
- What can hospice care offer my family and me?
- When should I bring my family in for open progress reports?
- What legal considerations do I need to better manage my health?
When to Contact Your Healthcare Provider
- Before choosing a recommended treatment
- When you are not maintaining your weight
- When you are aspirating (inhaling) food, liquids, or saliva
- When your pain relief is insufficient
- When care in your present situation is inadequate or an excessive burden on your caretakers
- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD
- Review Date: 12/2016
- Update Date: 12/10/2015