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Questions to ask your mesothelioma doctor

If you've been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you might have been too nonplussed to think straight at the time of your diagnosis. Below are some questions that you may want to discuss with your oncologist at your next visit.

What is the prognosis for my survival?

Not all mesothelioma patients desire to know the predicted outcome, but for those who do, it's best to talk straight to your doctor. Always remember, however, that as one long-term mesothelioma survivor said, "a diagnosis is not destiny."

Have my pathology report and slides been sent out for another opinion to a different hospital?

Getting a second opinion assures that the initial diagnosis was accurate. Find out whether your insurance will pick up the tab first.

Have you treated many patients with this same cancer?

Mesothelioma can be hard to treat, and there are few hospitals that focus on treating this type of cancer.

What are the pros and cons of my recommended treatment?

All treatments carry risks and some treatments are very rigorous. It's your life, so make sure that your wishes are respected regarding your treatment regimen.

What are the side effects of the treatment?

Doctors are trained to save lives, which is laudable, but quality of life also matters. Surviving two or three months longer but being racked by pain may not be worth it for you.

Do I have any other treatment options?

Another hospital may have clinical trials going on or have more advanced options available to them you could try.

It's also a good idea to discuss your concerns with the attorney handling your mesothelioma case. He or she may have access to resources you can explore as you battle your disease.

Source: Surviving Mesothelioma, "Questions for your Oncologist," accessed Feb. 26, 2016

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