NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Pancreatic Cancer, Version 1.2017
It’s your choice | Questions to ask your doctors
While absorbing the fact that you have
cancer, you must also learn about tests
and treatments. And, the time you have to
decide on a treatment plan may feel short.
Parts 1 through 5 aimed to teach you
about pancreatic cancer, its treatment,
and other challenges. Part 6 may help you
talk with your doctor and make treatment
decisions that are right for you.
It’s your choice
The role patients want in choosing their treatment
differs. You may feel uneasy about making treatment
decisions. This may be due to a high level of stress.
It may be hard to hear or know what others are
saying. Stress, pain, and drugs can limit your ability
to make good decisions. You may feel uneasy
because you don’t know much about cancer. You’ve
never heard the words used to describe cancer,
tests, or treatments. Likewise, you may think that
your judgment isn’t any better than your doctors'.
Letting others decide which option is best may make
you feel more at ease. However, whom do you
want to make the decisions? You may rely on your
doctors alone to make the right decisions. However,
your doctors may not tell you which to choose if
you have multiple good options. You can also have
loved ones help. They can gather information, speak
on your behalf, and share in decision-making with
your doctors. Even if others decide which treatment
you will receive, you still have to agree by signing a
On the other hand, you may want to take the lead or
share in decision-making. In shared decision-making,
you and your doctors share information, discuss the
options, and agree on a treatment plan. Your doctors
know the science behind your plan but you know
your concerns and goals. By working together, you
can decide on a plan that works best for you when it
comes to your personal and health needs.
Questions to ask your doctors
You will likely meet with experts from different
fields of medicine. It is helpful to talk with each
person. Prepare questions before your visit and ask
questions if the information isn’t clear. You can also
record your talks and get copies of your medical
records. It may be helpful to have a family member or
friend with you at these visits. A patient advocate or
navigator might also be able to come. They can help
you ask questions and remember what was said.
The questions on the next few pages are
suggestions for information you read about in this
book. Feel free to use these questions or come up
with your own personal questions to ask your doctor
and other members of your treatment team.