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NCCN Guidelines for Patients


Esophageal Cancer, Version 1.2016


Making treatment decisions

Questions to ask your doctors

Questions to ask your doctors

You will likely meet with experts from different fields of medicine. Strive to have helpful talks with

each person. Prepare questions before your visit and ask questions if the person isn’t clear. Bring a

pad of paper to take notes. You can also record your talks and get copies of your medical records. It

may be helpful to have your spouse, partner, or a friend with you at these visits. They can help to ask

questions and remember what was said. Suggested questions to ask include:

What’s my diagnosis and prognosis?

It’s important to know that there are different types of cancer. Cancer can greatly differ even when

people have a tumor in the same organ. Based on your test results, your doctors can tell you which

type of cancer you have. He or she can also give a prognosis. A prognosis is a prediction of the pattern

and outcome of a disease. Knowing the prognosis may affect what you decide about treatment.

1. Where did the cancer start? In what type of cell?

2. Is this cancer common?

3. What is the cancer stage? Does this stage mean the cancer has spread far?

4. What is the grade of the cancer? Does this grade mean the cancer will grow and spread fast?

5. What other tests results are important to know?

6. How often are these tests wrong?

7. Would you give me a copy of the pathology report and other test results?

8. Can the cancer be cured? If not, how well can treatment stop the cancer from growing?