Vaginal Cancer: Treatment Questions

Talking with healthcare providers about 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 bring them to your appointments. Write the answers down. Make sure you ask how the treatment will change your daily life, including your diet, activity, work, and sex life. Ask how you will look and feel after treatment. Ask how well treatment is expected to work, and what the risks and possible side effects are.

You may want to ask a friend or family member to go with you. He or she can take notes, write down the answers, and also ask questions you may not think of. You can also ask your healthcare provider if you can record the conversation. 

Here are some questions you might want to ask:

Deciding on a treatment

  • What kind of vaginal cancer do I have?

  • What is the grade and stage of my cancer? What does this mean?

  • Has the cancer spread anywhere else in my body?

  • How much experience do you have treating vaginal cancer?

  • What are my treatment choices?

  • Are there other tests that need to be done before we can decide on treatment?

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

  • What's the goal of treatment? Cure the cancer? Control it?

  • What are the side effects of these treatments (short-term and long-term)?

  • What's my risk of the cancer coming back after each treatment option?

  • How will treatment affect my sex life or my ability to have children?

  • Will I need reconstructive surgery after treatment?

  • Should I get a second opinion?

  • Are there any clinical trials that I can look into?

  • How can I learn about how much treatment will cost?

Getting ready for treatment

  • How long will it take to complete treatment?

  • What should I do to get ready for the treatment?

  • Where will I get treatment?

  • Who will give me the treatment?

  • How long will each treatment take?

  • Does someone need to go with me during treatments?

Coping during treatment

  • What are the common side effects I might have during and after treatment?

  • What can I do to ease the side effects?

  • How long will side effects last?

  • Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?

  • Are there support groups nearby that I can join?

After treatment

  • How will I feel after treatment?

  • When can I go back to work or my usual activities?

  • When can I have sex?

  • Will I have a scar?

  • What long-term or late side effects should I watch for?

  • What things can I do now to decrease the risk that the cancer will come back (recurrence)?

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

  • How and when will we know if treatment worked?

Online Medical Reviewer: Howard Goodman MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Kimberly Stump-Sutliff RN MSN AOCNS
Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Cunningham RN BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2021
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