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NCCN Guidelines for Patients



Rectal Cancer, Version 1.2017


Making treatment decisions

Questions to ask

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? Is this cancer common?

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

3. Is this a fast- or slow-growing cancer?

4. What tests do you recommend for me?

5. Where will the tests take place? How long will the tests take and will any test hurt?

6. What if I am pregnant?

7. How do I prepare for testing?

8. Should I bring a list of my medications?

9. Should I bring someone with me?

10. How often are these tests wrong?

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

12. Who will talk with me about the next steps? When?