Malignant Mesothelioma: Treatment Questions

Talking with healthcare providers about your cancer can be overwhelming. It can be hard to take in all of the information. It helps to be prepared.

Make a list of questions and take it to your appointments. Write the answers down in a notebook. Make sure you ask how the treatment might change your daily life. Ask how you will look and feel during and after treatment. Ask about the goal of treatment, how well it’s expected to work, and what the risks and possible side effects are.

You may also want to ask a friend or family member to go with you. They can take notes, write down the answers, and also ask questions you may not think of.

Here are some questions you might want to ask. All of these might not apply to your situation, but asking the questions that do apply can help you get a better idea of what to expect.

Deciding on a treatment

  • What type of mesothelioma do I have? Where is it?

  • What is the stage of my cancer?

  • Has the cancer spread from where it started?

  • Do I need any more tests before we decide on treatment?

  • What are my treatment options? 

  • What treatment do you think is best for me? Why?

  • What are the goals of treatment?

  • What is the success rate of this treatment for my type and stage of cancer?

  • What is the average life expectancy for someone with my stage of cancer getting treatment?

  • How much experience do you have treating cancers like mine?

  • Should I get a second opinion? 

  • Are there any clinical trials I should look into?

  • Will my insurance cover treatment? How much will I have to pay?

Getting ready for treatment

  • How soon do I need to start treatment?

  • What will treatment be like?

  • How long will each treatment take?

  • Where do I have to go for the treatment?

  • Who will give me the treatment?

  • Does someone need to go with me during treatments?

  • Can I take my other medicines during treatment?

  • What can I do to get ready for treatment?

  • How long will I be in treatment?

Coping during treatment

  • How will I look and feel during the treatment?

  • Will I be able to go to work or school and be around my family during treatment?

  • What side effects can I expect?

  • What can I do to help reduce side effects?

  • Will there be side effects I need to call you about?

  • What number do I call? After office hours? On weekends?

  • How long will side effects last?

  • Are there long-term side effects I should know about?

  • Will treatment affect how active I can be?

  • How will we know if treatment is working?

  • Should I change my diet? What foods can’t I eat?

  • Are there support groups nearby for me and my family?

After treatment

  • How will I look and feel after the treatment?

  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

  • Will I need any type of rehabilitation therapy after treatment? 

  • How will we know if treatment worked?

  • What are my options if the treatment doesn’t work or the cancer comes back?

  • How can I get a treatment summary (survivorship care plan) to keep in my personal medical records?

Making a decision

When you have answers from your healthcare provider, it’s time to think about your preferences. Think about what side effects you can and can’t tolerate. Talk about all of your concerns with your healthcare provider before making a decision about treatment. You may also want to get input from your family and friends.

Online Medical Reviewer: Kimberly Stump-Sutliff RN MSN AOCNS
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2021
© 2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.