Your First Doctor Visit & Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Be PREPared!

If you are PREPared for your doctor visits, you will accomplish a lot more and have more of your questions answered. Here are some tips to help you with your first doctor visit.

Make sure to bring the following with you:

1. Medical Records: It is important for your physician to know your medical history, so bring copies of your written records to your first visit. It is very helpful for your current physician to send a written summary of your cancer treatment history.

2. List of Medications: It will be helpful to bring a list of all medications you are currently taking. Also, include dosages and how often you take each medicine.

3. X-Rays, Scans, and Other Films: Bring the actual imaging films related to your diagnosis. These can be obtained from the imaging department where they were taken. Examples include:

  • X-Rays
  • CT scans (CAT scans)
  • MRI scans
  • Mammograms
  • PET scans
  • Ultrasounds

4. Pathology Slides: If your cancer has already been diagnosed through a biopsy, it is often important that the diagnosis be reviewed and confirmed by a pathologist at the center you are visiting. Your doctor who diagnosed your cancer can assist you in getting the pathology report.

5. Payment & Insurance Information: Bring the following with you for your physician visit:

  • A copy of your insurance card(s)
  • The co-pay your card lists for the service which will be expected at time of visit.

Make sure to check on the following with your insurance prior to your appointment:

  • Do you need a referral to see a specialist?
  • Does your primary care doctor know that you have an appointment, so he/she can assist in ensuring all the proper authorizations are in place?
  • Is your doctor or the facility in your insurance’s network?
  • If not, do you have out-of-network benefits? If not, you may be responsible for all charges incurred. This information is usually available on most insurance providers’ websites or the information can be obtained with a phone call to the Customer Service phone number on the back of your card.

Please feel free to call the DDF Office at (855) 475-1200 or email us at for more information or an explanation of the above tips.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Speak openly with your doctor, asking any question that may come to mind. Be prepared with a list of questions before your appointment. Here are some examples:

About Cancer

  • What type of cancer do I have?
  • Where is the cancer located?
  • What stage is my cancer?
  • Has it spread to my lymph nodes?
  • Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?

About Treatment

  • What are my treatment choices?
  • What treatment plan do you suggest for me and why?
  • What is the goal of my treatment?
  • What are the benefits of treatment?
  • What are the side effects and how can they be managed?
  • How do I prepare for treatment?
  • How long will I need to be on treatment?
  • How will I feel during treatment?
  • What is a clinical trial?
  • Am I eligible for a clinical trial? If so, which ones?
  • Would you recommend a clinical trial?
  • What is the goal of each treatment? Is it to eliminate the cancer, help me feel better, or both?
  • Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?
  • Who will be coordinating my overall treatment and follow-up care?
  • What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?

About Surgery

  • Do you recommend surgery? If yes, why? If no, why not?
  • Will you be removing lymph nodes?
  • How long will I need to be in the hospital after surgery?
  • Will I be put on a special diet after surgery?
  • What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and the long term?

About Chemotherapy

  • What chemotherapies will I receive?
  • How often and where will I receive my chemo?
  • How many rounds of chemo will I get?
  • What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and the long term?

About Radiation

  • What is radiation?
  • How often will I receive it and in what location?
  • What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and the long term?

About Lifestyle

  • How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
  • Are there exercises I can do to keep up my strength?
  • Will I need to change how I eat?
  • Are there foods or drinks I should be avoiding?
  • Should I take any food or liquid supplements?
  • What other things can I do to be as healthy as possible through my cancer treatment?
  • Could this treatment affect my sex life? If so, how and for how long?
  • Could this treatment affect my ability to become pregnant or have children? If so, should I talk with a fertility specialist before cancer treatment begins?
  • If I’m worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?

About Support

  • Are there support services available to me?
  • Is there a support group available that will allow me to speak with other patients with stomach cancer?
  • Are there support services available to my family?
  • Where can I find more information about stomach cancer and its treatment?