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How much information should I get from my doctor?

This is a hard question, and the answer very much depends on you.

There is no perfect amount of information for every person. Each person wants to learn a different amount about their cancer and treatment.

Some people like to know all of the details. Others prefer to know much less. In most cases, the amount of information you want will change over time. You might not want to know much to start with, but later on, you might want to know more.

Bring a family member or friend with you to your appointments. A family member or friend can help you recall or write down the information that you get. It can be hard to absorb all of the information on your own.

Although clinics can be very busy, your cancer care team is here to support you. To get the details that you need:

  • Ask for the information that you most want to know right now.
  • Know that you will have many chances to get more information. You do not have to get all the information at once.

For a good general picture of your cancer and treatment, the most important details may be:

  • Your type of cancer
  • The grade of your cancer (what your cancer cells look like under a microscope and how fast they are growing)
  • The stage of your cancer (how large the cancer tumour is and how much it has spread)
  • Whether your cancer has spread to any other parts of your body
  • What treatment your oncologist (cancer doctor) recommends for you (for example: chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or a mix of these treatments)

You can write down these details in the "My Diagnosis" (page 18) and "My Treatment" (page 54) sections of your Cancer Journey Planner. You can also use My Treatments (PDF) to help keep track of your treatment plan. Find out more about Treatment Decision-Making and Questions to Ask.

Last reviewed: 5/5/2022
Last modified: 10/30/2023 12:06 PM
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