CancerCare Manitoba
Preparing for Doctor Visits

Download the "It Helps to Talk— Patient Consultation Planner" published by Health Canada (67 KB)

Hearing you have cancer is never easy. It often takes time to accept the news even when you expect it. Talking to your doctor and having your questions answered are important parts of your treatment. Being prepared for your appointments will make the best use of both your time and your doctors. Being prepared is also the best way to get the information you need. Here are some suggestions that may help.

  • Ask a friend or family member to go to your appointments with you. They can take notes and help you remember what the doctor said. You may also take a small tape recorder so you can replay the discussion at home.
  • Don't be afraid to ask questions. You will worry less if you have answers.
  • Write down questions that you want to ask before you get to the appointment. Remember to take this list with you to the appointment.
  • If you don't understand something, ask them to repeat or explain it in another way.
  • It sometimes helps to repeat what you think was said. Ask if you are correct in your understanding.
  • If you feel you need a second opinion ask your doctor. Most doctors are comfortable helping you access the information you need.
  • Get a folder and keep all of your records and information together. It also helps to keep a small calendar for all your appointments.
  • Ask your doctor to explain unfamiliar words to you. You may also want to check the Glossary of Terms on this site.

The nurse educator at the Breast Cancer Centre of Hope can also answer many of your questions, assist you with a list of questions for your doctors or guide you to resources for your own study.