Top 10 questions to ask your doctor if you have been diagnosed with Mesothelioma

Malignant Mesothelioma can be confusing and devastating. Pronouncing “Mesothelioma” is a challenge, as is the disease. You are your best advocate in any health situation, and preparing a list of questions for your healthcare providers can equip you and your family as you forge a path ahead.

  1. Where can I get additional information on this diagnosis to help me understand it better? After you meet with your doctor, you might have additional questions or want to know more about your disease. Ask your doctor for resources before you leave your meeting. Or go to NHS approved sites, Be Part of Research. Being knowledgeable will strengthen the communication between you and your healthcare providers.

  2. What stage is my cancer and what does that mean for treatment? Cancer has many different stages and asking your doctor about this will help you understand the recommended treatments, whether it is a single drug or a combination of drugs, and the treatment cycle.

  3. Do you have any other patients I can talk to about their experience? Talking with other people or joining a support group can help as you navigate this journey. Hearing others’ experiences firsthand or sharing your experience with treatments can be beneficial. For example, the non-profit organization Mesothelioma UK has regional support groups that meet monthly and bimonthly.

  4. Will it help if I change my eating habits? Depending on your current eating habits, your doctor or oncology team might recommend various options to avoid side effects to support the treatment.

  5. What are the risks vs. benefits of the treatment you are recommending? Will this help my quality of life?Asking your doctor these questions can help you make informed decisions. Knowing the most common side effects can help you and your caregiver prepare ahead of time.

  6. Is there an NHS hospital or private clinic that deals with this diagnosis specifically? Your doctor might have an excellent oncology team for you at your local hospital. If you live in an area without nearby treatment, your health condition claim might allow you to choose a private clinic for your treatments. Sometimes if you join a clinical trial the sponsor pays for your travel to a different clinic.

  7. After therapy, what signs, symptoms, or side effects can I expect and what do you want me to call you about? Being knowledgeable about what to expect during and after your therapy can prepare you and ease your worries. Sometimes treatment reactions are inconvenient but not harmful or can show up later. Keeping notes on symptoms, time of day, and frequency of side effects will support conversations with your doctor.

  8. Who do I contact if I have questions after your office is closed? Can I email you? This is an important question for patients and caregivers ask so they know who and when to call and what actions to take in case of any needs after hours.

  9. Are there any new medicines or clinical trials I can participate in? You can look up NHS available clinical trials at this link Be Part of Research. Your doctor might know of clinical trials they are running at their hospital or other hospitals that you can participate in. Being part of a trial is a personal decision and weighing the benefits vs. risks is key to choosing what is right for you.

  10. What are my rights for a claim if I do not know how I got Mesothelioma or how I was exposed to asbestos? Your local or district nurse can show you the right places to apply regarding your asbestos claim. The NHS also has information online regarding claims.

These are our top 10 questions, yet there are many more questions you can ask. Do not limit yourself to this list and always speak up and ask (even if it feels silly). Asking questions regarding your health and your quality of life will aid you in your cancer journey. Lastly, you can always ask a general question, “What is it I do not know to ask?”, this allows the doctor to think beyond the conversation. Remember, knowledge will help you make better decisions for yourself and your loved ones—you are your best advocate.