It helps to learn all you can about your disease and treatment choices so that you can take an active part in decisions about your medical care. Discuss these choices with your doctor, other health care professionals, and loved ones. Your doctor is the best person to answer your questions about treatment. Make sure you ask how the treatment will change your daily life, including your diet, and how you will look and feel after treatment. Ask how successful the treatment is expected to be, and what its risks and side effects may be. You may also want to ask what your options will be if the lymphoma comes back, which is called recurrence.
Doctors are also finding new ways to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These new methods are tested in clinical trials. Before beginning treatment, ask your doctor if there are any clinical trials you should consider.
At first, the information you receive about treatment options may seem overwhelming. You may find it helpful to make a list of your questions before seeing your doctor. To make it easier to remember what the doctor says, you may want to take notes during meetings with your doctor or ask if you can record the conversation. It may also help to have a family member or friend with you to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen. Use the list of questions below as a starting place for the questions you might ask:
What type and stage of lymphoma do I have?
Are there other tests that need to be done before we can decide on treatment?
How soon do we start treatment?
How much experience do you have treating this type of lymphoma?
What treatment do you think is best for me?
What is the goal of treatment?
What is the success rate of this particular treatment for my type and stage of lymphoma?
Can I take my other medicines during the treatment period?
What is the length of the treatment period?
How long will each treatment take?
Where do I have to go for the treatment?
Who is involved in giving me the treatment?
Does someone need to go with me during the treatment?
How will I feel after the treatment?
What side effects can I expect to have?
How long will side effects last?
Are there side effects that I need to call you about?
What can I do to ease the side effects?
Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?
Should I change my diet? What foods can’t I eat?
Are there any clinical trials I should consider?
Are there support groups nearby that I can join?
Are there any websites you would recommend?
Ask your doctor or nurse for reading material about lymphoma.