Get the Most Out of Your Doctor's Appointment

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Get the Most Out of Your Doctor's Appointment


Remember, it's not your DOCTOR'S appointment, even though that's what we all call it. It's YOUR appointment. 

This is your time spent with your doctor or healthcare professional to find answers, receive quality treatment, discuss your options, and ask questions.  To get the most out of your appointment it's a good idea to prepare!

A few things to keep in mind:

  • The most important part of your healthcare team is YOU
  • YOU know more about YOU than anyone else does
  • Your doctor can help you more if you are an active partner in your treatment
  • If you are dissatisfied with care that you receive, and discussion with your caregiver does not resolve the situation, you can change doctors - how you feel about the care you receive is the most important thing


1. Start a list of the medications that you are taking, and keep it updated. This is something you can do right now, even if you aren't planning on seeing a doctor anytime soon. If you are into computers, you can make a file, or keep a handwritten list on your refrigerator door, or taped inside a cabinet door where you keep your medications. Even carrying it in your wallet so that it's handy in case of an emergency is a good idea.

2. Take notes on your symptoms (when they started, how bad they were, how long they lasted, if they went away and if so, for how long, etc).

3. Think positively and be confident when you are on your way to the appointment, and tell yourself that you are important, and you deserve to have your questions and concerns answered. You might not actually feel this way, but if you tell yourself you are, you might be surprised at the change.

4. Bring a trusted friend or family member to your appointment. Cancer is a difficult diagnosis, and you will probably not hear everything that is said. It helps to have additional ears there to listen and your guest may be able to help you make sure your concerns are brought up. Coach your friend or family member on how they can help and support you. You can also bring a small tape recorder to tape the discussion so you can review it later - ask your doctor if that is ok.

5. Practice asking questions at home with a friend or family member if you know you get a bit nervous when you are with your doctor. Rehearsing the questions so you are very familiar and confident about them really helps!

6. While taking prescribed medication or undergoing treatment, continue to take notes on how you are feeling. What effects is the medication or treatment having, reactions, how long it many details as you can think of.

7. When you think of a question(s) that you would like to ask your doctor, write it down, and keep it handy - put it in your wallet or purse. That way, you will have the questions when you go to your next appointment and won't worry about trying to remember.