Questions about cancer care and your rights
These questions about cancer care and your rights will help you make an informed choice. You may want to include some of the questions below in your own list.
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- Have you treated a lot of people with this type of cancer?
- What stage is the cancer and what does it mean?
- Do you specialise in treating this type of cancer? If not, could you recommend someone who does?
- Do you work in a multidisciplinary team? Who else is in the team?
- What hospitals or treatment centres do you work or operate in?
- Are you a member of a specialist medical college? If so, which one?
- I’m thinking of getting a second opinion. Can you recommend anyone?
- What are my treatment options? What is the aim of each treatment?
- What treatment do you recommend? What is the expected outcome of the treatment?
- Are there other treatments that you aren’t recommending? Why?
- What should I expect if I don’t have treatment?
- How long will treatment take? Will I have to stay in hospital?
- If this particular treatment does not work, are there other options?
- What is the likely success rate of any surgery or treatment?
- What are the risks and possible side effects of each treatment?
- What is the chance that these complications or side effects will occur?
- What will be done to prevent these side effects?
- Are the side effects immediate, temporary or long-lasting?
- What follow-up care can I expect after treatment?
- Will I need to take medicines long-term after treatment?
- Are there any out-of-pocket costs not covered by Medicare or my private health cover?
- Can the cost be reduced if I can’t afford it?
- Will I be able to work while having treatment?
Toni Ashmore, Cancer and Ambulatory Services, Canberra Health Services, ACT; Baker McKenzie, Pro Bono Legal Adviser, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Acting Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, South Metropolitan Health Service, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; David Briggs, Consumer; Naomi Catchpole, Social Worker, Metro South Health, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Tarishi Desai, Legal Research Officer, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Kathryn Dwan, Manager, Policy and Research, Health Care Consumers Association, ACT; Hayley Jones, Manager, Treatment and Supportive Care, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Victoria Lear, Cancer Care Coordinator, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Deb Roffe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Michelle Smerdon, National Pro Bono Manager, Cancer Council NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Need legal and financial assistance?
Pro bono services, financial and legal assistance, and no interest loans
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment